City council asks state for clarification on benefits statute

By Patrick Fisher

The New Prague City Council covered a varied list of items at its Monday meeting, ranging from planning and zoning matters to a resolution requesting a clarification of a Minnesota statute.

Clarification of statute

The council unanimously approved a resolution requesting clarification on Minnesota Statute 299A.465. The statute authorizes health insurance benefits to police and firefighters who are injured in the line of duty. Recently the statute was at the center of a request from New Prague’s former Chief of Police Dennis Rohloff.

The council denied Rohloff's request at its October 18 meeting, in part because the statute was not being fully funded by the state.

The resolution asked the Legislature to clarify the statute, establish a clear definition of injury and disability, establish a consistent procedure and process to determine disability, and to fully fund the statute.

Resignation of officer

The council unanimously accepted the resignation of New Prague Police Officer Terry Stier. He has accepted a full-time position with the Belle Plaine Police Department. Stier had been with the department for about a month.

New Prague Chief of Police Mark Vosejpka will begin the process of filling the position.

Planning issues

The council approved a conditional use permit (CUP) and variance for Braun Pump. The business plans to purchase the current Heating Consultants building at 201 Fourth Ave. SW and relocate its business there. The CUP allows the business to operate at that location, while the variance allows them to replace an existing shed, which does not meet setback requirements, with a new building.

Council members asked about the possibility of paving the street beside the property. Currently the street is composed of gravel. The council has previously discussed the possibility of paving the road to cut down on the amount of dust from the road.

New Prague City Administrator Jerry Bohnsack said if the road was paved no utilities work would need to be done, just curb and gutter and some storm sewer work. He would need to update the feasibility report for the street and, if the city proceeded, a public hearing would need to be held and assessments would have to be done. The council asked Bohnsack to do a feasibility report.

The vote was 4-0, with Mayor Craig S. Sindelar abstaining, since he is handling the real estate transaction.

— The council unanimously approved a conditional use permit for Neil Dornbusch. He is purchasing a site in the New Prague Business Park where he plans to have a building that will rent equipment. He will also have the larger equipment stored outside the building.

— Jeffery Barney was granted a variance to build a detached garage at 305 Central Ave. N.

— The council unanimously approved a conditional use permit and preliminary plat for Bohemia Acres Subdivision #3, which will have 16 housing lots on 3.6 acres, as proposed by MKM Properties, LLC.

Military leave

New Prague Public Works Director Dennis Seurer informed the council that Keith Barta of the Utilities Department will be taking a leave of absence to accept a voluntary call to active duty in the U.S. Army.

Barta, a captain, completed a tour of duty in Iraq earlier this year. He accepted a stateside assignment to train soldiers who will be deploying to Iraq. This will allow him to complete a total of two years active service when added to his previous deployment.

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