Petersburg Pilot -


City manager's report: The city tracks down unlicensed business owners on Facebook


Petersburg City Manager Steve Giesbrecht said that letters are being sent out to local business operators who advertise on Facebook's “It's My Business” page, without a business license filed with the City and without filing sales tax returns.

“It's just kind of a reminder letter to let people know that if you are going to run a business you need to have a business license, that doesn't cost you anything. But you do need to file your sales tax,” he told the City Council on Monday.

“We've had some people do that, and some people pretty upset about it too. But we will continue to work with them,” he added.

Giesbrecht also updated the Council on the latest projects.

The library project went out to bid last Thursday. The South Harbor Anode instillation project went out to bid on Monday. The Water Treatment Plant project will go out to bid on March 27.

A landslide recently caused some problems in the Middle Harbor, Giesbrecht said. It was discovered at a minus 2-foot tide.

“We're looking at some opportunities and options for trying to move that stuff along,” he said.

“We don't have an answer for it yet. But Glo [Wollen] is working on it. We are looking at, number one, what will it cost us. And number two, what can we legally do before we have to get the [Army] Corps [of Engineers] involved and everyone else involved,” he added.

The city is preparing to mail out property assessments. The assessments should be mailed by the end of the month. Property owners will have one month to file a written appeal, he said. The Board of Equalization (City Council) will meet in the second week of May.

The Pump Station 5 rehabilitation design contract has been finalized and design work will begin soon, Giesbrecht said. “Pump Station five is our biggest pump station and basically everything goes through it,” he said.

Giesbrecht is working with city department heads on the first phase of the 2012-13 budget, which is balancing the general fund, he said. “We hope to be able to present the general fund portion of the budget to the Council by the next meeting,” he said.

“The goal at this point is positive cash flow, in the enterprise fund. And have the general fund balanced so that we're not continuing to drain the general fund,” he said.

The Petersburg Police Dept. continues to have issues with the District Attorney's office. “Although, the communication seems to be getting better. And that's a good thing,” he said.

Senator Bert Stedman is working with the City and the Dept. of Law to help get the service the city has requested, Giesbrecht said.

“At this point we are in the hands of Senator Stedman and his staff … we hope to hear something in a couple of weeks,” said Giesbrecht.

Giesbrecht and his staff completed a task that Councilman Koenigs requested regarding the pros and cons of hiring a full-time contract manager to handle the large volume of projects the City has planned in the next five years.

“We are checking with grant agencies to confirm that the city could use grant money to offset the salary and benefit cost of a person, or persons, performing these tasks,” he said.

“It is a really valid idea, and the numbers looked like it would be worthwhile,” he said. “But a lot of the grants won't allow that. For the Federal projects, they want an outside firm for the inspections.”


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