Herald JournalHerald Journal, Aug. 18, 2003

Montrose water use up three times as usual

By Dave Cox

Water use jumped in the City of Montrose recently, reported Public Works Director Del Haag during the council meeting Monday.

Haag stated that the city has recently been pumping 282,000 gallons per day, when the 100,000 per day is typical.

The Montrose City Council approved a motion authorizing staff to impose odd/even watering restrictions if necessary.

In order to conserve water, residents are encouraged to think about their own water use, and to take steps such as watering lawns during the evening hours rather than during the day.

Evening watering is much more efficient, since 10 percent of the water used to water on a hot day can be immediately lost to evaporation, according to council member Jeff Mattson.

City staff will monitor the situation, and residents will be notified if a watering ban becomes necessary.

In other matters, the council awarded a low bid for completion of the Phase II utility improvements for Wright County Road 12.

The city has received three bids for the work, said City Engineer Brad Dewolf.

The project consists of constructing a 10-inch sanitary sewer forcemain from Third Street to the Rolling Acres Lift Station, and constructing a 10-inch watermain to the north end of the County Road 12 project.

DeWolf stated that since all three of the contractors who submitted bids are already under contract with the City of Montrose to complete improvements on other projects, the city can complete a Change Order for the Phase II of the County Road 12 improvements.

The council approved DeWolf's recommendation and accepted the low bid of $417,591.85 submitted by LaTour Construction.

Mattson reported that the Park and Recreation Commission had discussed moving ahead with a skateboard park, which would be located at the current lift station site on Buffalo Ave. S.

Keith Roseen will contact someone who designs skateboard parks to get drawings and quotes.

In a related matter, the council discussed some damage that has been caused by youths who have been skateboarding in the city hall parking lot.

It was reported that there have been instances where boards and nails have been left scattered in the parking lot, along with beverage containers and other garbage. There has been damage to the outside of city hall and to a church window, and nails have been dropped into the air conditioner.

Mayor Charlie Nelson said that he has no objection to young people using the parking lots as long as they clean up after themselves.

Other council members agreed that they do not want to punish all of the young people for the actions of a few, but they noted that this kind of activity has to stop.

City Administrator Barb Swanson asked, "How can we stop it?" Nelson suggested that one step would be to strictly enforce the curfew. It was also suggested that the city could look into implementing a neighborhood watch program.

The key to this kind of program is that when residents observe someone committing an unlawful act, they must then be willing to stand up and identify the person when the sheriff arrives.

City staff will contact the sheriff's department to get information about implementing a neighborhood watch program.

During the open forum, Mike Neumann expressed frustration about a variety of issues between himself and the city.

The largest grievance concerned a difference in understanding about an assessment agreement.

Neumann indicated that he had signed the agreement based on misinformation that he received from the city approximately two years ago.

Swanson stated that the agreement had been signed by Neumann, the council and a judge, and was a matter of record. Nelson stated that Neumann had been represented by council at the time that the agreement was signed, and that if Neumann felt that his attorney had advised him inappropriately, he should go back to his attorney.

Nelson said that the city would have their attorney look up the statute that Neumann requested.

In other business, the council:

· approved implementation of a fence permit system and processing fees

· authorized staff to go back to a 60-day disconnect policy for past due water bills.

· approved purchase of a new printer for city hall.

· agreed to purchase a tee and staff a table during the Wright County Scramble 2003, a golf event sponsored by the Wright County Economic Development Partnership, which will allow them to promote the city to some 300 contractors, developers and realtors who are interested in doing business in Wright County.

· noted that the Montrose Fire Department was approved for a $43,596 grant from the Federal Emergency Response Agency (FEMA).

The cost of the approved project is $48,440, reported fire chief Mike Marketon at last Monday's council meeting. The federal share of this is 90 percent, or $43,596.

The fire department's share is 10 percent, or $4,844. Marketon stated that the department has included this amount in their budget.

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