By Ivan Raconteur
NEW GERMANY, MN Everyone seems to agree that something needs to be done about the deteriorating restrooms and concession stand in New Germany’s Lindstrom Park.
A group of volunteers from the New Germany Fire Department has formed a committee and has been working on figuring out what can be done, and how to pay for it.
The original plan was to find out if the restrooms could be updated, but after inspecting the building that housed the restrooms and concession stand, the group determined it would be better to replace the entire building with a new structure.
Representatives from the committee approached the city council Tuesday night to find out if the council would support the idea before proceeding with getting estimates for the project.
Most of the work will be done by volunteers from the fire department.
Another question will be how to pay for the improvements.
The committee estimates that the project will cost between $20,000 and $30,000.
The council asked the committee to continue gathering estimates and present the information to the council during the Tuesday, April 7 council meeting.
Sewer backup results in controversy
A sewer backup at the home of former mayor Paul Engelhardt resulted in some friction between Mayor Pete Pederson, Sewer and Water Superintendent Bob Roepke, and members of the council.
At issue were two bills that the city received for sewer repair and equipment rental related to the incident.
“Technically, the city has no obligation to clear out the lines,” Pederson said, making it clear that he did not think the city should pay the bills.
He said that Engelhardt called the plumber, suggesting that Engelhardt should pay the bill.
“If you had a sewer backing up into your house, who would you call?” Roepke asked Pederson.
“I would call the plumber, and I would pay him,” Pederson replied.
Roepke and Pederson argued over whether the blockage was on Engelhardt’s property or in the city’s portion of the sewer.
Pederson said the city has no proof that it was the city’s responsibility.
Roepke said he believed the problem had been in the city sewer.
“Mr. Engelhardt’s service was open. When his neighbor flushed his toilet, it was coming into Mr. Engelhardt’s house,” Roepke said.
Pederson argued that it was a private sewer.
Roepke replied that all of the residents who are hooked up to that line pay the city hookup charges.
Pederson continued to express dissatisfaction with the fact that Engelhardt submitted the bills to the city.
The other council members said Pederson was getting too personal in his comments.
Carver County Sheriff’s Deputy Chris Nelson advised the council to move on to the next subject on the agenda.
The council agreed to pay the $300 bill and $645 of the other bill, but said Engelhardt should pay the remaining $175.
Tenant, city, discuss water issue after foreclosure
Resident David Winkleman approached the council about an issue with water bills.
Winkleman has been renting an apartment in the old schoolhouse. The property went into foreclosure, and the sheriff’s sale for the property took place Dec. 4.
The city sent a letter to the tenants early in January informing them that the water would be shut off if the bill was not paid.
Water was included in the rent paid by the tenants, but the owner had not paid the city.
Initially, the tenants had agreed to pay the water bill to keep the service, but the other tenants have left, leaving Winkleman as the only resident in the building.
The water bill remained unpaid, and the water was shut off.
At Pederson’s direction, the water was turned on again later the same day.
Winkleman said he wants to pay his fair share of the water bill, but does not want to pay for water used by others, and does not want to pay the bill from prior months.
Winkleman also said he would like to purchase the property, but has not been able to find out from the building’s new owner, a company in Georgia, what it intends to do with the property.
The council asked City Clerk Joan Guthmiller to determine what the water rate should be for a single residence, and tabled the issue until the Tuesday, April 7 council meeting.
Odds and ends
In other business, the council:
• authorized City Engineer Sheila Krohse to advertise for bids for the northwest area infrastructure improvement project, which will extend infrastructure to the Trophy Lake Estates development.
• heard from Roepke that he received a letter from the department of health advising him that the city’s new well failed a test for two contaminants. He said this is common in new wells, and the well will be monitored more closely for at least the next year.