By Ivan Raconteur
HOWARD LAKE Howard Lake City Council, during its meeting Jan. 16, voted to keep sewer and water rates unchanged for the third consecutive fiscal year.
The water charges will remain at a fixed service charge of $26 and a volume charge of $4.26 per 1,000 gallons.
Sewer rates will stay at a fixed service fee of $30.87, plus a volume charge of $8.87 per 1,000 gallons.
The wastewater treatment plant fee will remain at $7.41 for 2018, and the stormwater fee will stay at $7.99.
City Administrator Nick Haggenmiller noted the Forsman Farms expansion, as well as residential development, which included 10 new single-family homes in 2017, show a level of growth that is higher than in recent years. This growth helps to spread the cost of providing utility services, and can help the city avoid rate increases.
The council identified three capital improvement projects for 2018.
The first is the reconstruction of Imhoff Avenue.
The next is construction of a parking lot at the site of the former Kadlec building.
A Highway 12/CSAH 6 trail to the Wright County Fairgrounds is the third project.
The council approved a revised process for appointment of fire department officers.
Haggenmiller said the city will transition to a merit-based system.
Under state and federal law, as well as the city’s personnel policy, the city must be able to identify a valid, work or qualification-related reason why it promoted someone, the city’s legal counsel noted in a memo.
The council approved basic job descriptions for officers, and applicants for officer positions will use the standard city application.
The department will continue to conduct elections, and these will be used as recommendations.
The city will also be reviewing the department’s bylaws to make sure they are consistent with city policy.
Odds and ends
In other business, the council:
• approved the purchase of two portable TC-400 portable radar speed signs that the city can deploy on different roads as needed. The city can purchase the signs using funds from forfeited vehicles.
• awarded a bid for demolition of the building at 925 6th St. (aka the Auto Choice property) to RAM Excavating.
• approved the city’s regular council meeting schedule for 2018.