Taking Issue With Times’ Story On Donnelly City Council

Donnelly City Council rebuttal to Stevens County Times Oct. 16, 2023 story. 

Katie Erdman of the Stevens County times had requested City Clerk Sarah Koning to record the city council meeting minutes when she was not able to attend. Then would like Clerk Koning to review and approve the “story” before it would be posted. 

When asked if Katie would be paying Sarah to approve her story she stated no she would not. The council refused to take time out of our busy days to complete a task that was already completed with city council approved meeting minutes if there was no payment to be made. 

While the City of Donnelly does record their own minutes for the clerks notes we are not required to record for any other person or organization as per the League of Minnesota Cities. 

Also, the City of Donnelly Council would like to note that the city approved meeting minutes are the only minutes that are recognized by the council and after reading the posting made in the Stevens County Times on Oct. 16, 2023 this is why:

We do recognize the “abusive treatment” was profanity that was used and was probably not necessary for this situation. 

Corrections that are worthy of being noted to the incorrect “story” of Katie Erdman with the Stevens County Times:

The City of Donnelly was not denied a grant for the septic and sewer systems. We had never applied for the grant.

The City of Donnelly also did not accept bids to complete any work for the sewer or septic systems. This sentence could get the City of Donnelly in trouble as a project with this amount of money required to complete would need to be advertised to collect several bids to have this work completed and would be awarded to the lowest bidder. 

As this did not take place the City of Donnelly is not responsible for the misinformation that was written in the Stevens County Times. 

What did happen was City of Donnelly was in contact with Bolten and Menk Engineering to see if Donnelly would qualify for grants. However, after their assessment was completed to see if City of Donnelly residents could afford to complete the work that would not be covered under grants, it turned out the city did not qualify for any grants at this time and it was decided to raise water and sewer usage fees to try to complete more of the work ourselves. 

If we would have decided to move forward with Bolten and Menk, the water and sewer bills would have been raised significantly more then was approved by city council. All of this was noted to the Donnelly residents. 

There was a tank fee letter that was sent out to residents that have septic tanks that are not being in use. However, the tank fee letter was just a notification that there could potentially be a fee starting in the new year. As the council is still working this out the letter was just a notification. There was not a fee that has been adopted as of yet. 

The Community Club was in attendance that day, however, they were not seeking approval to purchase properties. They originally owned the mentioned properties and the City Council voted to sell these properties back to the Community Club for a $1.00 so the Community Club could take over the properties and the insurance expense for these areas for their Threshing Bee. 

While anyone does have the right to record the city council meetings it should also be noted that there are several key points in her “story” that do not coincide with previous council approved meeting minutes. And even though she was at the meeting taking notes her “recordings” were still incorrect. 

The Stevens County Times posted this “story” without a clerk or council member making any corrections to it. Hence, showing how misunderstood anything not being the city council approved meeting minutes could go very wrong. 

Should you have any questions or concerns please contact a council member or please attend our council meetings that are the first Saturday of every month at 4 p.m.

Donnelly City Council: 

Mayor Dale Ennen,  Blake Engebretson,  Jacob Eystad, Mike Schmidt, and Kevin Warner