Before a public hearing and subsequent vote to adopt the League of Minnesota Cities Basic Code, Sturgeon Lake had 99 ordinances on the books, according to Mayor Todd Danelski.
Many of the original 99 ordinances for Sturgeon Lake were out of date with Minnesota State Statutes. Some ordinances dated back to 1903.
Sturgeon Lake City Council has been working to adopt the Basic Code for months.
What is the Basic Code?
For a fee of $880, the city of Sturgeon Lake is provided a copy of a comprehensive code of ordinances created by the League of Minnesota Cities. These ordinances are codefied, or turned into, legally enforcible ordinances by the resolution to adopt the Basic Code by the council. There are several options for ordinances and codes with the League, but the Minnesota Basic Code is a 300 page complete model code for cities with populations of 2,000 or fewer residents. Ordinances within the code can be tailored to community needs, but extensive revisions are not recommended. All included codes and ordinances are in compliance with state legal standards and have been tested within the court system. According to the League of Minnesota Cities over 100 cities have adopted the Basic Code in Minnesota.
This code is up to date with all Minnesota State Statutes and is updated by the League when laws change that impact ordinances. The city only needs to adopt the code and then it is available for the city to use. For an additional fee the League of Minnesota Cities offers the code in an online version so that cities can host it on their website.
A discussion about creating a website specifically for the city of Sturgeon Lake has taken place at the last two city council meetings. Creating a website with the assistance of the city technology provider has been discussed. City Clerk Loralea Beede-Slocum said that the plan for a website would move forward now that the code has been adopted and can be available online for residents.
An estimated total of 18 members of the public attended the dial-in public hearing to find out more about the Basic Code. Many expressed frustration with being unable to review the Basic Code prior to the public hearing. Guests were allowed a three minute window each to address the
council with questions or comments about the code. The council kept a list of questions raised and addressed them after the public hearing portion of the meeting was ended. Cost effectiveness and zoning concerns were the two main topics of concern for guests.
Questions at the Public Hearing on February 23 about the cost of adopting the Basic Code were addressed by the council. Concerns of the cost effectiveness were raised by nearly all members of the public in attendance. To redo the existing 99 ordinances, the council would need to engage the city attorney for an unknown number of hours. An estimated cost for the city attorney by the city clerk is about $125 per hour.
The council determined that the fee of $880 for an update comprehensive code was the most cost effective way to update the city ordinances.
A number of concerns were raised by attendees about zoning issues. The portion of the Basic Code approved by the council does not include zoning. There will be a subsequent meeting to address a zoning map and ordinances at a later time.