By Roz Kohls
DASSEL, MN The Dassel City Council paid $161,500 last Monday to Hjerpe Contracting Services of Hutchinson for work it has done laying watermains from the new watertower site at the intersection of Highways 12 and 15 to the Sellards Drive area, and under the highway.
General Construction Services of Stillwater, which is building the single pedestal 300,000-gallon tower, was paid $7,960. Both of these payments have 5 percent withheld to make sure the contractors finish the work.
Chuck DeWolf, city engineer from Bolton & Menk, said Hjerpe Contracting finally received a permit from the railroad after three-and-a-half months of waiting. A major watermain needs to be bored under the railroad track to get from the tower site to the south side of town. DeWolf said the permit was supposed to take six to eight weeks.
In other water business, the council approved the 2009 budgets for the water, sanitary sewer and surface water. The water department’s operating budget will be $334,890, enough that water rates won’t need to be increased to cover the cost of the new water tower.
The sanitary sewer operating budget will be $307,180. This is very close to going in the red, and might result in a sanitary sewer rate increase in the future. However, City Administrator Myles McGrath said the city’s new method of bill collections has been successful with the water department, and might hold off a sanitary sewer rate increase as well.
Money in the surface waters operating budget of $10,400 is used partly for street sweeping so leaves don’t get into Spring Lake, said Public Works Director Dave Scepaniak. Scepaniak asked residents to rake and dispose of fallen leaves before they have a chance to blow into the street and lake.
The surface waters funds also are used to buy vortex units for the city. The units are drainage devices that separate solids from water before it drains into the lake, Scepaniak added.
In addition, Scepaniak reported on capping the waterlines at the 30-lot Todd Street mobile home court. Some of the water and sewer lines in the 15 vacant lots were broken and in danger of freezing during the winter. Of the 15 exposed lines, 11 were capped since Oct. 20. The remaining four needed parts and will be repaired shortly.
“We can go into the winter without any problem,” Scepaniak said.
Scepaniak also announced that public works employee Walt Hansen passed his water treatment certification, and public works employee Jay Evjen passed his wastewater treatment certification.
Odds and ends
In other business, the council:
• planned to tentatively host a meeting with area cities Monday, Nov. 17 at 1 p.m. to demonstrate a planning tool developed by the League of Minnesota Cities.
• listened to a warning from Mayor Ava Flachmeyer that the state will present its budget for 2009, the same day Dassel holds its Truth in Taxation hearing, Monday, Dec. 1. If the state pulls Dassel’s local government aid, it will be too late for the city to change its levy and budget, she said.
• noted that winter parking restrictions begin Saturday, Nov. 15. Vehicles will not be allowed to park overnight on Dassel streets, to facilitate snow plowing.