Herald JournalHerald Journal, Aug. 11, 2003

NG council takes next step in improving sewer and water

By Dave Cox

New Germany City Council took the next step toward implementing sewer and water improvements when they authorized engineer Kreg Schmidt to draw up plans for moving the lift station.

This action at the council meeting last Monday also included a new 10-inch forcemain.

The council also voted to increase the base fees for both sewer and water service in the city from $4.50 to $10. This change is necessary in order to begin to bring the fees more in line with the real cost of providing the service.

The city will evaluate the per-gallon usage charge at the end of the year, to ensure that the combination of base and user fees will be sufficient to cover debt service on the bonds that will be issued for the project.

Mayor Franklin Schoenke said that the city should change the rates now to start putting money in the funds.

"I don't want to spend any more money either, but I am willing to do what needs to be done for the city," he said. He added that the residents he has spoken to understand the need for the increase.

Schoenke also stated that these are improvements that the city needs whether there is new development in the city or not.

Schmidt stated that there is not enough time to get the project started this fall. He recommended that the city advertise for bids in January or February 2004, and begin construction as soon as the frost is out in the spring.

The council also discussed a 14-unit subdivision proposal from Jim Shermock for the Henkel Addition. Schmidt said, "From an engineering perspective, I don't see anything insurmountable in the proposal."

He noted that the primary concerns, as in previous proposals for this site, would be drainage issues and ownership of the road into the property. The issue was tabled until Shermock can attend a council meeting.

In other news, the council voted to follow the recommendation of the seven-member fire department pumper committee, and accepted the bid from Clarey Safety Equipment of Rochester, Minn. for the new pumper.

The city received three bids for the equipment, which will replace unit #709, which is 35 years old. The Clarey bid was for $244,000. There was one lower bid, but the committee was forced to reject it because it failed to meet several key points in the specifications.

Council member and fire chief Steve Van Lith said that all of the proposals were good, and all of the bids were from reputable, established companies, but that the committee felt that the Clarey bid was the best for the city.

Van Lith, who was also chairman of the pumper committee, abstained from the vote.

The new pumper will give the fire department many new options, including a foam system, rear intake and discharge, and a directional light bar that will help with traffic control.

In other news, the council:

· approved the Wetland Boundary Delineation for Black Forest Estates

· amended the liquor ordinance by adopting state statute regarding bar opening and closing times, which would include the new 2 a.m. closing, and also amending the ordinance to say that an owner of an establishment in New Germany must be a resident of the state of Minnesota.

· scheduled a budget workshop session for Tuesday, Aug. 26 at 7 p.m.

· noted that the city has agreed to a temporary one-year extension of its cable TV franchise agreement.

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