Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, June 21, 1999

Winsted previews infrastructure improvements at public hearing

By Luis Puga

Approximately nine people showed up for the city's public hearing on proposed city improvements. The hearing, scheduled an hour before the city council's regular meeting on Tuesday, gave concerned citizens an opportunity to ask questions of the council and the city's engineer for the project, Dan D. Boyum of Bonestroo, Rosene, Anderlik and Associates.

The hearing began with a presentation from Boyum, who pointed out that the previous plan to assess the curb and gutter repairs to the nearest homeowner has been eliminated.

He explained since, in the past, Winsted had not done so, this project would be no different.

While the individual homeowner will not be assessed, the $297,500 cost for the curb and gutter repair will be figured into the total estimated cost of the entire project, $494,800.

The total cost includes seal coating the city and county streets for $130,000 and $66,800. The latter amount will be refunded to the city by McLeod County.

The total cost of the project is important because the city will assess 25 percent of the total cost of the project as a flat rate in order to be eligible for bonding. That means that curb and gutter work will be assessed to all property owners across the city, per the city's policies according to Boyum.

There are two noticeable adjustments to the seal coating project. County Road 1 will not be seal coated nor will Winsted on the Lake, since those streets have been built recently.

Boyum said that the estimated time span between applications of seal coating should be about 10 years and the last seal coating in Winsted was sometime in 1986.

When the question period began, it was asked how the city determined which curbs and gutters should be repaired. Some citizens felt that some curbs and gutters were being replaced unnecessarily, while some portions not included in the project needed repair.

Boyum said that the choice of curbs and gutters to be repaired were established from a preliminary survey, and that if citizens wanted to bring different areas to the attention of the engineers, they should do so by contacting the city clerk or the city maintenance department.

In general, he said that the public works director, Pat Radtke, who conducted the survey with Boyum, looked for portions of curb and gutter that were spalling, cracking, and settling.

Boyum added that the life of curb and gutter should be about 40 years. He said that some areas to be repaired may not have not lasted as long as they should have.

Other causes for repair included drive ways that may have been put in incorrectly or concrete that has settled over time. Boyum added that about 12 driveways are estimated to need work.

Boyum quelled concerns over access, saying that businesses and high traffic areas would be assured of access to their driveways while the project is underway.

Discussion lingered mostly over past projects in the city, rather than the two new projects under consideration. Concerns were expressed over cul-de-sacs in both Westgate and Shady Creek where both citizens and council members agreed the drainage of water was not adequate.

Mayor Floyd Sneer remarked about one area of Westgate where the project was not done well, but added that the city went with the lowest bid in order to save costs.

He added that while most work is done correctly, it is not always guaranteed. He said that the area could have problems because the concrete settled as well.

One audience member asked who designed those projects and whether the city was still using those engineers. The council pointed out that

Boyum is an engineer the city has not used before.

Not many questions concerned the seal coating project. Boyum said that seal coating is part of a regular maintenance program, and that Winsted has a good maintenance schedule. Both the seal coating, and the curb and gutter repair, although in the preliminary stages, will most likely take place in the spring of 2000.

Litfin annexation on hold

The annexation of Jack Litfin's business properties into the city is on hold. Litfin informed the council that the Winsted Township board refused to sign a waiver to expedite the annexation.

The waiver would effectively eliminate a 90 day period in which the township could object to the annexation.

Litfin said that the township board was concerned over the loss of tax revenue and would like to see a different formula for taxes to be allotted after the annexation.

Typically, the township's taxes would decrease to 90 percent after the first year of purchase. Subsequent years would decrease in 20 percent increments with the difference going to the city until the city gets the full amount of taxes.

Litfin claimed that the township wants to receive 100 percent of the taxes for three years after the annexation.

The council decided to invite the township board to the next regular meeting to discuss the matter. It also is going to investigate an emergency annexation.

Litfin has said that one of the reasons he is seeking annexation is to get sewer and water services. He said a lack of those services has caused expenses in the past. Litfin said he has had to pump his septic tanks every three days during the winter due to inadequate facilities.

Watermain addition

One project that is going ahead this year will be the watermain addition. The engineer for this project, Tom Homme from SEH/RCM, spoke to the council about adjusting part of the plans.

He noted that the connection from the water tower that would be hooked into a new 12 inch pipe was only 10 inches, and he recommended changing it to 12 inches.

He estimated the cost at $12,500 and felt the change would get the city an additional 890 gallons per minute of water for about 300 feet of pipe. The council agreed to this action and the changes will be made.

The project will also require an easement near the elementary school, Adult Training Habilitation Center, St. Mary's Care Center, and Linden Woods Apartments.

For the council's information, he showed how some additional footage might be needed to avoid trees, a parking lot and a fence.

Other business . . .

­ Bill Gilk presented the council with a new home type that Winsted on the Lake will be developing. Dubbed a villa, the home will be on the same size lots as the twin homes, but the homes will be separated by 14 feet were as the twin homes were connected.

The villas will cost about $109,900, estimated Gilk, and he said that the separation between the homes will probably make them more popular. The villas will include a full basement and will be available for homeowners who take advantage of the CASA funding available from the state.

­ On behalf of Winsted Legion Festival, Dick Genty requested the use of the old fire station for the summer festival. He said the festival might be hosting a craft fair and that space might be used. In the past, the firemen would host a pancake breakfast in the facility, but that event has moved to the new fire hall. The city said it would inquire about the facility's availability.

­ As part of last year's budget, the council transferred $29,000 from the sewer fund to the 94 improvement bonds. It also transferred from the '78 bonds $20,000 to the '97 improvement bonds.

­ The Winsted Royalty got permission to hold a car wash on Saturday, July 3 at the fire hall from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

­ The city again looked at the advantages of a loan versus a bond on the issue of the curb and gutter/seal coating project. However, some questions about how a private loan would affect the city's bond rating and under what conditions a bank could call the loan delayed any action on the subject.

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