By Ivan Raconteur
LESTER PRAIRIE, MN Lester Prairie city engineer Josh Eckstein presented information about the city’s 2014 sanitary sewer rehabilitation project during Tuesday’s council meeting.
The proposed work includes lining the sanitary sewer along one block of Juniper Street South between First Avenue South and Second Avenue South, and one block of Oak Street North from Second Avenue North to First Avenue North.
Three quotes were received, ranging from $23,673 to $41,217.
The council approved the low quote from Visu-Sewer.
The low quote was 31 percent less than the engineer’s estimate of $34,100.
Eckstein also presented an update regarding the infrastructure improvement/turnback project.
About 15 percent of the sidewalk panels that were installed along Second Street South had to be replaced. Eckstein said there were multiple causes for the problems with the sidewalk. There is a two-year warranty on the sidewalk, he noted.
Eckstein told the council that the water services at three residences were dug up for evaluation. These were among those that froze last winter. Additional insulation was added to prevent future problems.
Eckstein said these three were chosen because they are adjacent to the new sewer line that was installed during the project.
The council asked Eckstein to dig up two of the other 10 water services that experienced frozen pipes last winter to see if there are any problems with those lines.
Final grading and other punch list items will be completed in the weeks ahead. The final lift of paving is expected to be completed in late June or early July, Eckstein said.
Mayor Andy Heimerl said he wanted to clear up any confusion that may have arisen from comments during the May council meeting about requests being directed to department heads.
“I did not mean to imply you can’t talk to anyone but department heads,” Heimerl said. “I have the utmost faith in all our employees. What I’m trying to get across is that we will not circumvent the system.”
Anyone on the city staff is capable of handling situations, Heimerl noted, but people should not be asking staff members to order things or take other action without council approval.
There is a procedure, Heimerl said, and the procedure is the city council must approve any purchases.
People who have ideas or requests can ask a staff member to have the item put on the agenda for council consideration.
“I don’t want to put any employee in an uncomfortable position,” Heimerl said. “They have the backing of the city council.”
He noted the pool staff was recently told to move picnic tables from the park into the pool area.
“This is a prime example of what I am talking about,” Heimerl said, noting that the request should have been directed to the city council.
“Everything goes through the council,” Heimerl said.
Odds and ends
In other business, the council:
• heard from City Clerk Marilyn Pawelk the state demographer’s 2013 population estimate for 2013 is 1,703 (the population at the time of the 2010 census was 1,730). The 2013 household estimate is 648.
• approved election judges for the 2014 primary, general, and city elections. They are Shirley Dibb, Gordon Houk, Audrey Litzau, Shirley Weisenburger, and head judge Pawelk.
• rescheduled the August city council meeting (due to the primary election) from Tuesday, Aug. 12 to Thursday, Aug. 7; and rescheduled the Tuesday, Nov. 11 council meeting (due to Veterans Day) to Monday, Nov. 10 at 5 p.m.
• approved an updated job description combining the chief of police and emergency management director duties into one position.
• approved a fiber optic project that will run fiber to the school.
• scheduled a meeting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, June 19 to consider sanitation service providers. The city’s current contract ends the beginning of August.
• approved a liquor license for Heidi Schwartz and John Atkinson, who are in the process of purchasing One Eyed Willy’s.
• approved moving forward with up to $10,000 in cemetery repairs that were included in the 2014 budget.
• authorized repair of portions of downtown sidewalks due to safety concerns.