Tobacco, e-cig changes finalized
A set of changes to the city’s regulation of tobacco and e-cigarettes got another tweak Monday before gaining final approval.
Red Wing City Council members removed a provision setting a minimum clerk age of 18 for selling tobacco before a 5-2 vote approving the changes. Council President Dean Hove said his main concern with the proposal was for small businesses.
“I’d rather leave it up to the business owner,” Council member Jason Sebion said of allowing those 16 and 17 to sell products. He noted that businesses are still held responsible if cigarettes are sold to someone underage.
Police Chief Roger Pohlman said the goal of the restriction is to protect those young employees. Council member Peggy Rehder said they can face peer pressure to sell cigarettes to underage friends and classmates, and Council member Dustin Schulenberg agreed.
“I want to keep the tobacco out of kids’ hands,” he said. He and Rehder voted no.
The ordinance changes also included license limits near school property or a daycare facility, and the council added a definition of “daycare” to match with state law, focusing on larger facilities rather than home daycares.
The council unanimously approved a second set of changes restricting smoking and using e-cigarettes in certain public places, including near ventilation systems of places of work or public buildings and public transportation stops and at outdoor public events.
Bridge project moving forward
The City Council approved a set of design guidelines for the Highway 63 bridge project and set a public hearing on the layout.
“We’re at an important juncture of our major Mississippi River bridge project,” Planning Director Brian Peterson said Monday. The preliminary design is completed, and the next step is the final design. Construction is slated to start in 2017, running through 2019.
The council on Monday approved the bridge project visual quality manual, which Peterson said will act as a guideline for the design of the bridge.
A public hearing was set for the Nov. 23 meeting on the layout to consider comments, and the council plans to hold a workshop at 5:30 p.m. that day, before the regular meeting, to discuss the project.
Ignite letter OK’d
The City Council agreed Monday to approve a letter sent by Mayor Dan Bender supporting Red Wing Ignite’s application for a federal grant, but raised some concerns about the process.
At their Sept. 28 meeting, council members voted to work on an agreement to contribute $50,000 annually for five years to Red Wing Ignite, and to allow the mayor to issue a letter of support to be used for other funding, including the grant application.
The city said it would work out a contract with Ignite to address deliverables and transparency and reporting requirements.
Mayor Dan Bender said while putting together the support letter, the question came up as to whether the contribution met the grant requirement that funds not be “conditioned or encumbered in any way that may preclude its use consistent with the requirements of EDA investment assistance.”
Council member Lisa Bayley said Monday she believed any conditions in the forthcoming contract still would be consistent with the grant requirements.
Council members said the process could have been better, but expressed support for the work and said the contract negotiations will help hash out more details.
Bender said in the future he wants to see requests for a letter of mayoral to support come forward with a draft letter, and council members said issues need to come before them with plenty of time for discussion and turnaround.
The letter was approved on a 5-1 voice vote. Council member Ralph Rauterkus, who also serves on the Red Wing Ignite board, recused himself from the discussion and vote.
In other news…
•Mayor Dan Bender read a proclamation highlighting that general aviation is a “vital strategic resource” to the city and declaring October 2015 General Aviation Appreciation Month.
• Meeting watch: Monday’s Red Wing City Council meeting lasted three hours. All members were present.