Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, February 22, 1999

Y2K plans, school proposal part of HL council workshop

By Andrea Vargo

A sense of urgency pervaded the Howard Lake City Council's workshop Thursday.

First on the agenda was the Y2K contingency plan needed from each of the city's department heads.

City Administrator Christina Frankenfield shared the information she has gleaned from the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust (LMCIT) about the requirements the city needs to meet in order to be covered by the league's liability insurance.

"Our concerns are safety issues for our city," she said.

Anticipated lawsuits from difficulties arising from the Y2K problems that will possibly manifest Jan. 1, 2000, have cities all over the state scrambling to put contingency plans in place, she said.

Department heads were given a 13-point plan from LMCIT to follow when developing their own individual plans for an emergency.

For instance, the objective of the contingency plan might be to continue a normal level of service, and the rest of the plan details how that would be done in each major area of service in that department.

An example might be: during a snow storm the power goes out for an extended period of time, the maintenance department is dealing with sewer and water emergencies, so an independent contractor will come in and handle snow removal until the city's crew can get back on the streets. This is the sort of thing the LMCIT wants cities to write into their contingency plans.

Each plan categorizes responsibilities, roles, and authority, and provides methods of contacting employees.

Lists of needed resources must come from departments that need additional things, such as a generator to run the water tower and one for sewage pumping. Whether those are in place, leased, or purchased must be determined by each city, said Frankenfield.

Many things need to be considered for Howard Lake, she said, from money to pay for overtime that first weekend in January, to the possible purchase or lease of a generator.

Contingency plans from the city departments are due March 18. All departments have just about completed their plans already, and only need to put them in the format required by LMCIT, said Frankenfield.

Concerning personnel, the league recommends staff be on duty and ready to respond to any unexpected problems that occur Jan. 1, 2000.

School proposal

Also on the agenda was the site proposal for a new high school.

The council will present the proposal to the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted (HLWW) School Board and Long Range Facilities Task Force Wednesday, Feb. 24 at 7:30 p.m. in the media center at the high school.

"We are going into this with a positive attitude," said Mayor Gerry Smith.

Only 16 percent of the students attending HLWW come out of Winsted, so it only makes sense to keep the new school close to Howard Lake, he said.

Smith said he figured if the school were built in Winsted, it would cost about $200,000 in mileage paid to teachers, who are time-shared, over a 20-year period, just to travel between the two schools.

Bus transportation figures were also something he wants to have ready for the presentation.

Smith felt two full cafeterias would have to be maintained at extra cost, and students would put on 12,000 hours of extra travel time per year, which is a safety concern.

"I'm concerned that if this becomes a bidding war, we are splitting the two towns," said Smith.

The city council will have a special meeting tonight at 7 p.m.at the Howard Lake Community Center to discuss the school sites and related issues.


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