By Linda Scherer
WINSTED, MN Greystone Construction, Winsted’s former city hall general contractor, will pay $8,244 to the city of Winsted, with the understanding that it will no longer be considered responsible for erosion problems on Winsted Lake’s newly landscaped lake bank.
The Winsted City Council agreed to the amount at its Tuesday meeting, although it is only half the cost the city will have to pay to construct a manhole to correct an erosion problem that occurred on a storm sewer outlet newly installed last year during the city hall construction project.
Last month, the council had reviewed a proposal Greystone said would correct the erosion of the lake bank at the outlet.
Greystone’s proposal was an upgrade to the original lake bank specifications using larger rip-rap to stabilize the lake bank in the area.
The city hall construction committee reviewed Greystone’s proposal, as well as a manhole option presented by Bolton & Menk city engineer Jake Saulsbury, and the committee found that the manhole option provided the best long-term solution to the erosion occurring on the lake bank.
The city countered Greystone’s proposal by asking Greystone to pay 50 percent of the estimated project cost to construct the manhole.
Greystone found the terms to be acceptable on the condition that the city hold Greystone blameless of any future liability on erosion issues that may occur along the lake bank.
By not letting Greystone follow through with its proposal to at least try the rock and rip-rap option, there wasn’t any proof the manhole system was the best solution, according to Saulsbury.
“Our rationale is it would be difficult to sustain a legal challenge by making Greystone pay the entire $16,000 (the price of the manhole project),” City Administrator Brent Mareck said.
Council approves sign ordinance changes
The Planning Commission reviewed and approved the sign ordinance amendments regarding temporary and portable signs placed in the city of Winsted and unanimously recommended council approval.
During the public hearing at Tuesday’s council meeting, regarding amendments to the sign ordinance, the former mayor, Don Guggemos said having a time limit for removing signage should be included in the ordinance.
“I think that is a pretty important thing, because I have seen signs in town that are advertising something that has been over for two weeks,” Guggemos said. “I don’t see any reason for not having that sign down within one week.”
Removing outdated signs is one of the ways to keep the town looking good, according to Guggemos.
“I think one week is extremely generous,” Council Member Bonnie Quast said. “I think three days after the event is over, the sign should come down.”
The discussion ended with Council Member Tom Ollig making a motion to approve the new sign ordinance amendments, and then added that all temporary signs be removed within 72 hours.
The council unanimously agreed.
PeopleService reports on pond abandonment
Pond number one, with 3 million gallons of sludge in it, located by the Winsted waste water treatment plant, is scheduled to be emptied this fall, according to Dan Wroge of PeopleService.
To remove that much sediment will require extra farm land to haul and spread it, and Wroge said he will begin talking to farmers in the area to see who would be willing to have the sludge hauled onto their property.
It is going to be expensive to pump and haul that much sludge out to the fields, Wroge told the council.
“What I want to do is get some bids on what it is going to cost to pump that sludge out, and start pumping water out and see how it starts drying out,” Wroge said. “As we get into the summer, we can probably get it dried enough so I can push it up into a pile and maybe we will have to wait one more year,” Wroge said.
“If we feel we can’t keep up with the schedule, we will have to notify the Minnesota Pollution Control (MPC) by the end of April,” Wroge said. “So far we are on schedule, but if there are any changes and we want an extension, we have to notify them in time.”
A suggestion by Wroge for a possible way for the sludge to bring money into the city was an idea that came from an MPC meeting he had attended.
It was discussed having farmers purchase the sludge because it contains a great deal of phosphorous.
“The price of phosphorus went up to $1,000 a ton last fall and there were farmers interested in buying sludge,” Wroge said.
The sludge in the tanks hauled out last fall had about 7,500 pounds of phosphorous and the value of that would have been about $4,000, Wroge estimated.
Because of the restrictions on selling fertilizer, the suggestion made was to give the farmer the phosphorous for free but have him pay an application fee to have it hauled out to his field.
Some of the cities that have been doing this are Marshall, New Ulm, Duluth and St. Cloud, according to Wroge.
Wroge also talked about phosphorous limits, and chemical versus biological treatment, because he wanted the council to know what was coming up in the future.
Odds and ends
In other business, the council:
• approved a lease with Jim Hausladen to farm approximately six acres adjacent to the waste water plant for two years at $1,800.
• approved a two-year maintenance agreement with McLeod County exchanging plowing and street sweeping services for seal coating in the amount of $13,750.
• approved the purchase of a handrail system for the front plaza of city hall from Millerbernd Design and Fabrication for $2,120.
• approved the amended City of Winsted seal coat schedule, which is to include Westgate, Andy Avenue, and Albert Avenue for 2009, at a cost of $30,277.
• approved street crack filling in coordination with the seal coat schedule at a cost not to exceed $15,000.
• approved the plans and specifications for the 2009 airport improvement project, but contracts are contingent on receipt of grant funds from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The estimated construction start date is early to mid June, 2009.