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Lester Prairie City Council considers sewer project
Nov. 16, 2015

Ivan Raconteur
Editor

LESTER PRAIRIE, MN – City engineer Josh Eckstein presented options regarding the repair of the storm sewer along Second Avenue North during Tuesday’s Lester Prairie City Council meeting.

Estimated costs range from $60,000 to $290,000, depending on the scope of the work the council chooses to approve.

One option involves using pipe-bursting technology to replace the existing 12-inch pipe with 15-inch pipe to increase capacity.

The work could be done without digging up the street, which would increase both the cost and the time needed to complete the work.

Eckstein described the pipe-bursting process as “a 50-year fix.”

The council will discuss the options during its December meeting.

Use of city hall

The council discussed use of city facilities with members of the Lester Prairie American Legion and Auxiliary, and the Lester Prairie Lions.

The organizations expressed concern that they will no longer be able to use the meeting room in which the council has been meeting since the recent remodelling project.

The council assured the groups that, for now, they may continue to use the room, as they did in the past.

However, the council noted that things change, and it is possible that at some point in the furure, when the room is changed to become a dedicated council chamber, it may not be available for use by other groups.

Mayor Eric Angvall said this could be three-to-five years or longer.

The council has not yet approved any specific plans for this change.

Angvall invited members of the organizations who have concerns about the use of the room to talk to him at a time other than during the council meeting.

There was also discussion of items that were removed from the walls during the remodeling project.

City Clerk Marilyn Pawelk said some items were donated to the McLeod County Historical Society, and some, that the society did not want, are being stored in a closet at city hall.

Some members expressed displeasure and said the city did not have the right to dispose of the items. Pawelk said she met with representatives from the group to ask for direction before donating the items.

Pawelk also said the trophy cases that had been on the wall were donated to the school.

Classification study update

Council Member Tim Dahl presented an update regarding the ongoing classification and compensation study for city employees.

The council approved a consulting services agreement with Wright County Human Resources Director Sunny Hesse to review job descriptions at a rate of $60 per hour plus mileage, for and estimated total cost of $510, not-to-exceed $600.

Council Member Ron Foust asked why the council should contract with Hesse for this work, rather than consultant George Gmach, with whom the council has already contacted to do the classification study.

Dahl said the committee, which includes Dahl, Pawelk, Economic Development Coordinator Adam Birkholz, and Police Offier Mark Thiry, favored keeping the two jobs separate, and noted Hesse’s hourly rate is $60, compared to Gmach’s rate of $100 per hour.

The council will likely approve the updated job descriptions in December.

Odds and ends

In other business, the council:

• approved the purchase of a 72-inch brush cutter from Farm-Rite equipment at a cost of $4,708.

• approved an agreement with McLeod County for assesment services at an annual cost of $8,316 (792 parcels at a cost of $10.50 per parcel).

• scheduled a strategic planning workshop meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tusesday, Dec. 1. Birkholz will present an update on his activities since accepting the position, and ask for council direction on various courses of action for the future.

• authorized the use of the McLeod County Sheriff’s Posse to cover community events if Police Chief Bob Carlson determines he does not have adequate staff to provide the coverage. Dahl, who is a member of the posse, abstained from the vote.

• acknowleged receipt of a $3,380 franchise fee payment from Mediacom.

• approved replacement of a squad car at a cost not to exceed $45,000, including all standard police equipment, as part of the department’s regular replacement schedule.

• approved replacement of exterior lights at the fire station at a net cost of $2,425, for a projected annual savings of $815, which is expected to result in a three-year payback of the investment.

• heard from Pawelk that the public access cable channel is up and running. The council approved the purchase of three converters at a cost of $300 each, which are needed to work with the existing equipment.

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