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Memorial Park improvements in HL are still up in the air
Monday, May 21, 2012
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By Jennifer Kotila
Staff Writer

HOWARD LAKE, MN – After televising the sanitary sewer line which runs under the parking lot at Howard Lake’s Memorial Park, it was determined that the repairs needed would amount to more than just a patch in the line, Public Works Director Tom Goepfert told Howard Lake City Council at Tuesday’s meeting.

When going into the line from the restrooms at Memorial Park, the camera was under water until almost halfway to Wright County Road 6, Goepfert said.

However, when sending the camera into the line from the manhole on Co. Rd. 6, the line was dry until it reached halfway back to the restrooms.

Water does go all the way through the line, so it isn’t completely blocked, Goepfert said, adding that he flushed all the toilets in the park at once to test it.

He assumes there is a bad angle in the line at the point where it goes from underwater to dry, he said.

“If we keep cleaning it out, it shouldn’t be a problem for now. My big concern is for next year with the baseball tournament,” Goepfert said.

The entire sanitary sewer line from the restroom to Co. Rd. 6 will have to be replaced, and much more of the parking lot will have to be removed to provide access.

Morris Excavating looked at the area to quote how much it will cost to dig the line up to make repairs, but Goepfert had not received prices back yet, he said.

Although a parks commission meeting had been scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday to discuss Memorial Park, the meeting was canceled.

However, after talking to several members of the parks commission regarding the issues at the park, City Administrator Kelly Hinnenkamp said they were concerned that making improvements over the summer would cut off one of the city parks for residents.

“I think, since we are looking at more work now, maybe we want to revisit our options,” Hinnenkamp said.

Council Member Allen Munson suggested that the new line could be placed along the edge of the pavement, rather than under the pavement, so the parking lot will not be disturbed as much.

Although there are a number of trees and power poles in the way, Goepfert said he would consider that as an option since it would be cheaper than tearing up all the pavement.

Water tower maintenance

Maintenance will be taking place on the water tower located at Sixth Avenue, and Goepfert began draining it Thursday.

During maintenance, which will take about two weeks, the water plant will not be in operation, Goepfert said.

Water will still be chlorinated and safe to drink, but fluoride will not be added and iron will not be taken out, Goepfert added.

Replacing the city administrator

After accepting Hinnenkamp’s resignation, the council weighed its options for finding a replacement.

Hinnenkamp informed the council that the personnel committee had met, and the council has a few different options.

The council could hire a “headhunter” or consultant to find appropriate candidates to fill the position, or it could hire an interim administrator to help them through the process.

Since Hinnenkamp will be in her position as administrator until June 22, another option the council has is to let her begin the process by posting the opening and requirements on the League of Minnesota Cities website.

If the council chose that option, the first round of interviews would take place before Hinnenkamp left.

Hinnenkamp noted there would be fees for a headhunter or consultant.

“I think having you do the first round is good, but we should get price quotes for the headhunter so we are prepared if we have to use one,” said Council Member Pete Zimmerman.

The council approved having Hinnenkamp call for applicants for the administrator position, as well as asking for quotes for consultants.

Hinnenkamp noted she wanted to make sure the budget for 2013 is nearly complete before she leaves, and that other time-sensitive projects are completed enough for others to handle when she leaves.

“Kelly has been awesome to work with – Annandale is really lucky,” said City Clerk Gene Gilbert.

“You have done us a lot of good,” said Council Member Tom Kutz.

Net loss for liquor store in April

The Howard Lake Municipal Liquor Store showed a net loss of $6,285 in April, but shows a net profit of $969 for the year.

In April, 17 out of 30 days were rainy, which is not good for beer sales, noted manager Myra Hirsch. “I am so ready for summer,” she said.

Hirsch also noted that in April, her wages and benefits, totaling $6,542 for April, began to be taken out of the liquor store fund instead of the general fund in the month of April.

Inventory at the store totaled $74,478, and Hirsch noted she has plenty of beer and other popular liquors on hand to last for awhile.

Sonstegard Foods odor complaints

During a workshop following the regular city council meeting, the council discussed complaints the city has been receiving from citizens regarding odors allegedly emanating from Sonstegard Foods.

It was decided that before the city takes any action, a log will be kept noting complaints from residents.

Odds and ends

In other business, the council:

• approved city staff re-striping private parking lots at the same time it re-stripes public parking lots.

Private parking lot owners will be charged $45 per hour plus the cost of materials for re-striping.

• approved a liquor license for the American Legion.

• began reviewing the 2013 city budget.

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