Weekly Memo 10-14-11

Each Weekly Memo to the City Council is also provided on the City Council web page.


Accounting Technician

The Civil Service Commission interviewed candidates this week to fill the vacant Accounting Technician position.  The Finance Director and I interviewed the finalists.  The final recommendation is on the City Council consent agenda.  Carrie Greicar has an Associate Degree in Business Administration with significant experience in bookkeeping and finance with particular attention to Accounts Payable.  Carrie is available to begin with the City on Monday, October 31.

Health Insurance renewal

The City received two quotations for employee health insurance coverage in 2012.  Medica and Health Partners bid on the coverage.  Health Partners is the existing provider.  And, the City had Medica from 2006-2008 before changing to Health Insurance.  Staff will solicit employee input in the next two-three weeks.  The City overall has seen a poor experience record in the last few years.  This has led to dramatically increased premiums in the last three years.  I should note, however, that despite the recent increases the City generally has had favorable coverage rates up to the present time relative to comparable cities.  The City has explored several alternatives to contain the cost of health insurance including soliciting new coverage proposals  and implementing a wellness program.  We plan to expand upon the existing wellness program in early 2012 using by taking advantage of established programs from health care providers.

Lot Development Request for Proposals

The Economic Development and Housing (EDHA) reviewed a draft Request for Proposals (RFP) prepared by EDHA Director Jim Richter.  The RFP would solicit proposals to develop the city-owned lot on the corner of DeMers Avenue and 4th Avenue NW.  The proposal would request generally mixed-use (commercial and residential) alternatives; and financial incentives could be negotiable depending upon proposals received.  The City Council will review the draft RFP at the next scheduled Work Session on October 25.


Library, Charlotte Helgeson

Our Campbell Corner interview from 10-5-11 is now on the home page of Pioneer 90.1 – check it out!


Police Departmemt, Chief Mike Hedlund,

Parent Advisory – Everyday candy used to conceal alcohol consumption

Underage alcohol consumption continues to be a serious problem nationwide and the Grand Forks/East Grand Forks area is no exception.  Law enforcement and public health workers continue to work to prevent underage persons from acquiring and consuming alcohol through both education and enforcement efforts but youth also continue to explore new avenues to acquire and consume alcohol.  The latest “fad” in underage alcohol consumption involves the use of gummi candies that can be purchased at any grocery, candy or convenience store.  Gummi bears, worms, chewy lifesavers or any other type of soft chewable candy can be used in this new practice.  Underage persons take the gummi candy and place it in a pan or other container and then add alcohol to the pan (vodka seems to be the alcohol of choice because of its relatively low “alcohol” smell and taste).  Over the course of several hours the alcohol is absorbed into the candy which can then be eaten.  Eating the alcohol soaked candy is just like having a drink of an alcoholic beverage and has the same affects.  Parents should be alert to any out of the ordinary behavior by their children and any use of gummi type candies should probably be checked out.  Better safe than sorry.

EGFPD Conducts Alcohol Server Training

On Tuesday October 11, 2011 Officer Tony Reznicek of the EGFPD conducted alcohol server training for the employees of Hugo’s Wine & Spirits in East Grand Forks.  The training, which is conducted free of charge, is designed to help workers in the alcohol industry be better prepared to spot fake ID’s in an effort to help minimize the availability of alcoholic beverages to underage persons.  EGF City Code mandates that all servers receive this training and the EGFPD will be working with local businesses to make sure they are all in compliance with this ordinance.