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Plans to be finalized for Darwin water project
Feb. 20, 2012
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Porth resigns after 21 years serving on the council

By Kristen Miller
News Editor

DARWIN, MN – Final plans are in the works by engineers at Bolton & Menk as the city of Darwin awaits funding to construct a new water treatment facility.

Engineers Barry Glienke and Chris Swanson attended last Monday’s meeting to finalize plans for the proposed facility.

The goal is to have the plans ready to go and wait for funding through Public Finance Authority (PFA).

Glienke informed the council that the PFA money for 2012 has already been used for other projects and that 2013 money will become available in August or September. If all goes well, the project, which will take a year to complete, could still begin this fall.

Plans for the $1.5 million facility, which will be built on the same location as the current facility (between Williams and Pacific), must be submitted to the MN Department of Health by March 28.

It was also noted that the proposed water treatment facility would be where the office for Public Works Director Jill Holte will be. The shop, where her office is currently located, will then be used for storage.

It was also noted that the water treatment facility needs to have sewer access, and therefore, the street (east side of Williams to Pacific) would need to be dug up to allow for this.

Since the street is in need of repairs, the council decided it would be a wise investment to have the road replaced from Second Street to the second manhole on Pacific (roughly 100 feet) during this time, as well. Sanitary sewer improvements would also be included.

These improvements would affect five houses in that area and would therefore be assessed to the homeowner. The first half of the street would be attributed to the water plant and paid for with the funding for it.

Glienke also asked the council if it would like to include water meters in the project. Meters would cost roughly $150,000, including installation and billing software.

The benefit of meters is that residents only pay for what they use and it’s more equality-based, Glienke said.

Financing for this could be through state-backed funding with 2.5 percent credit enhancement bonds through PFA. The road project could also be added to this, Glienke noted.

The council agreed to go forward with these improvements, all pending the issuance of grants and low-interest financing.

Porth resigns for health reasons

After 21 years of serving as a Darwin City Council member, Diane Porth has resigned due to health reasons.

Porth was first elected in 1986, and took her oath of office in January 1987. In 1998, she took a term off only to run for election again in 2002, and has served on the council ever since.

Speaking to Porth about her time on the council, the things she enjoyed most were communicating with the public, hearing their concerns, and trying to provide a solution for them.

“I just enjoyed doing that and being a voice for the people,” Porth said. “I hope I did some good the 21 years I was there.”

Fellow long-time council member Lee Peterson has been happy to serve alongside Porth all these years. He shared several accomplishments that the city was able to do with her on board including a new city hall, road and sewer projects, moving the museum, and park improvements.

During this difficult time, Porth remains positive and appreciates all the support from her family and friends.

“I’m so grateful for the prayers and the support I’ve gotten . . . it’s been wonderful,” Porth said.

As far as the vacant position on the council, residents interested in serving the remainder of Porth’s term – through December 2012, should send a letter of interest to City Clerk Paula Drahos, PO Box 67, Darwin.

Odds and ends

In other business, the council:

• approved a $100 deposit for the Minnesota Minn-e-Rods event during Twine Ball Day.

• approved the purchase of a 2000 Chevy half-ton truck, regular cab, for public works department for $6,800 from Cokato Motors at the January meeting.

The city has sold the former truck and plow for $3,000.

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