By Kristen Miller
DASSEL, MN The Dassel City Council decided that it would take the initiative and repair its portion of the Dassel-Cokato bike path during last Monday’s meeting.
Public Works Director Dave Scepaniak received three quotes for seal coating of the .8 mile stretch. This goes from Willis Street to 735th Street.
Quotes received for two quotes were from H & S, out of Maple Lake, for $4,040, and Maguire Excavating and Paving for $3,440. B & H, out of Litchfield, also quoted the project at $3,323, but this would include only one coat done by hand.
Before the council took any action, Mayor Mike Scanlon asked if he should talk with the other parties responsible for the repair of the bike path to see what their plans were before taking action.
The additional parties that are taking responsibility for the bike path maintenance are the Dassel-Cokato School District, Dassel Township, the City of Cokato, and Collinwood Township. It was noted that a grant request to help with funding for the bike path had been unsuccessful.
Since seal coating is best when applied in warm weather, council member Jason Benzing was concerned about waiting until the next council meeting in September.
Scanlon made a motion to go with Maguire Construction for filling cracks and the seal coating. Benzing seconded the motion. Council member Bob Lalone voted for the motion, while council member Pat Haapala voted against it. Council member Alesia Warner was not present.
Just in time for school, the council made a decision regarding parking around Dassel Elementary School.
Following the Aug. 2 meeting, Benzing, along with city administrator Myles McGrath, met with Deb Morris, new Dassel Elementary principal, and DC Superintendent Jeff Powers regarding the school pick-up zone.
In conclusion, the following recommendations were made to the council.
The city’s responsibilities would be to:
• allow no U-turns to be made on Horace Ave. and Guy Street, and signify this with a sign;
• add two “No Parking or Waiting” signs to the west side of Guy Street in front of the yellow curb;
• paint the curb yellow from the handicap parking space located on the southeast corner of the school block to 15 feet north of the school’s east entrance; and
• enforce the parking and u-turn restrictions, as well as enforce the sidewalk maintenance ordinance to include snow, dirt, and weed removal along Guy Street.
The school’s responsibilities would be to:
• clear snow on the west side of Guy Street from William Avenue to Horace Street;
• inform and follow up with parents on traffic flow and crosswalk usage; and
• move staff overflow parking to the north side of Breed’s Park on William Avenue.
School parking rules would be enforced from Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 2 to 4 p.m.
Benzing told the council that he thought this was the most “gentle” way to address the safety concerns surrounding the drop-off and pick-up of students at Dassel Elementary. Scanlon agreed.
The council approved the school zone parking recommendations, including the installation of signs and the curb painting.
It was noted that this would be in place by the first day of school, Tuesday, Sept. 7.
Morris would inform parents during the open houses and in letters prior to the start of school.
Chuck DeWolfe attended the meeting to review the utility rate increases.
Utility rate increases were adopted in 2009 for 2010. At the time, increases were suggested for a three-year period as a way to bring rates to a level that would sustain debt service.
The increase was 11 percent for water and 6.6 percent for sewer, which would amount to an overall increase of 8.5 to 9 percent.
Even with the increase, there is a projected shortfall of around $130,000 for 2010. This shortfall will come from the city’s reserve fund balance as a way to hold off on rate increases, according to McGrath.
This issue will be discussed further in October, when the city’s enterprise fund budget is set.
McGrath told the council he is currently formulating the 2011 budget and trying to keep the numbers intact from the 2010 budget and the levy at the same level.
Benzing suggested looking at lowering the budget as opposed to just keeping it the same.
McGrath told the council that he can try, but “we still have to have enough money to go around.”
As part of the budget, McGrath gave the council information regarding the Meeker County Sheriff’s Department contract renewal for 2011-12. The current hourly rate is $38. The rate would increase to $39.25 in 2011, and to $40 in 2012.
It was noted that the county charges the city $8 less than what it costs for law enforcement services.
Candidate forum set
McGrath announced that the city would be hosting a candidate forum tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 19 at 7 p.m.
Candidates invited to the forum would be for local council seats, county commissioner, sheriff, and state senate and house of representative candidates.
Odds and ends
In other business, the council:
• discussed reinstating the noon and curfew whistle.
The city received a quote from Frontline Plus to purchase a new controller for the current siren on the east side of the fire hall. This would cost the city $1,011.
The council made no decision and is looking for input from the community as to whether or not this purchase is necessary.
“A thousand dollars is a lot of money for an alarm clock,” said Benzing.
• approved two leases for use during the Red Rooster Days festivities.
The first lease is for museum parking, which includes a strip of land directly adjacent to the Dassel History Center and Ergot Museum property, for approximately $130. Because there is a new owner and a new name on the lease, action was required. It was noted this lease is done annually for the event.
The second lease is for the use of the building where the barbecue chicken dinner is served at the cost of $1. This particular lease is for liability purposes.
• approved the Dassel Farmers’ Market board of directors. They are: Mike Scanlon, Wayne Medcraft, Bob Wilde, Julie Townsend, Sonny Nelson, and Myles McGrath.
• approved two final pay requests for water plant improvements that were completed in 2009, to General Repair Service in the amount of $1,723, and Hjerpe Contracting in the amount of $3,457.
All were in connection with the water tower project.
• heard from Red Rooster parade chair Wayne Medcraft about how the committee is working to make the parade safer.
In the past, the parade units lined up in Fire Lake’s parking lot. This tends to be more than the parking lot’s capacity, he noted.
Parade units will also be lining up along County Road 4 to help alleviate some of the congestion.
It was also noted that there will be nine members of the Meeker County Sheriff’s Department to assist.