At the Jan. 24 meeting, the Mound City Council recognized Scott Bjorlin and Scott Price of the former Scotty B’s restaurant for their longstanding service and support of the broader Westonka community. (Submitted photo)
The Mound City Council appointed Kevin Castellano to fill the council seat that was vacated by Mayor Jason Holt to serve the remainder of that council term expiring Dec. 31, 2024.
After interviewing the three candidates at their meeting Jan. 24, council members used ranked choice voting which resulted in a three-way tie with each candidate receiving eight points. The council had previously agreed that, in the event of a tie, the mayor would choose who to appoint and he selected Castellano.
Castellano has served on the Mound Planning Commission for five years and is the general manager of Wayzata Wine & Spirits. He shared with the council that he believes that the experiences have prepared him well to help with budget planning and communicating with residents.
Another agenda item for the council was to review responses to its request for proposals for civil attorney legal services. The council received three proposals and directed staff to move forward with negotiating a service contract with Hoff Barry Attorneys. Hoff Barry is located in Eden Prairie, and the council selected the firm because of its proximity to Mound, quick response times, and experience with other cities as city attorney and special counsel.
In addition, the council passed a resolution recognizing Scott Bjorlin and Scott Price of Scotty B’s Restaurant, which closed in December 2022, for their longstanding, community-serving business that provided home-style, family dining for generations of families. Over decades of operation, council members highlighted that Bjorlin, Price, and Scotty B’s dedicated essential support to Western Community Action Network (WeCAN), Westonka Historical Society (WHS), Westonka Community and Commerce (WCC), Westonka Food Shelf, and numerous Westonka School District activities.
The council also listened to a presentation from the Harrisons Bay Association regarding its Westonka Carp Project and agreed to write a formal letter of support and join a coalition of agencies and cities in developing a carp management plan.
According to Bart Halling, a Harrisons Bay Association board member, carp are a serious issue because they resuspend phosphorus from sediment, which can lead to dangerous algae blooms and reduce water clarity. They also uproot native plants, preventing the growth of healthy vegetation and habitat for fowl and fish.
The association has already completed a Lake Minnetonka carp population survey with the University of Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center, and the results show that there is estimated to be 700,000 pounds of carp within Harrisons Bay, Jennings Bay, and West Arm Bay. A healthy carp population target is considered to be 90 pounds per acre, while Harrisons Bay has 401 pounds per acre.
Over the course of the winter, the association plans to apply for grants and raise funds, finalize its initial strategy to manage the carp, and form partnerships. It also plans to undertake a feasibility study in 2023 to determine carp movement patterns, identify carp nursery areas, and propose actions to limit carp movement and reduce populations in Lake Minnetonka.
In other news, the council decided to move forward with planning a volunteer appreciation event. Historically, the city of Mound has held a biennial volunteer appreciation banquet to recognize its elected officials and those appointed to serve on one of the city’s three advisory commissions. The event has typically been held in February of odd years, but was suspended in 2021 because of the pandemic.
In the past, the council has held the volunteer appreciation event at the Gillespie Center, but due to new catering rules at the venue, the council directed city staff to hold the event at Surfside Bar and Grill. Council member Kathy McEnaney volunteered to work with city staff to procure recognition gifts for outgoing council members and commissioners as well.
The council also discussed ways for the city to take a more active role in acknowledging local businesses and sending communications to residents. Currently, the city does not have a streamlined way to collect email addresses from residents to be able to push out communications and has trouble getting residents to subscribe to its newsletter. The council decided that it will research how other cities communicate with residents so it can come up with a communication strategy and plan.
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