By Ivan Raconteur
LESTER PRAIRIE, MN The City of Lester Prairie will need to move forward with a utility project along Maple Street South from First Avenue South to Second Avenue South. The questions that remain are when it will be done, and how extensive the scope will be.
Josh Eckstein of Bolton & Menk told the council during its meeting Tuesday that although the existing watermain was installed as part of the city’s original water system in the mid-1950s, no quality or capacity issues have been observed.
The sanitary sewer in this area was installed at the same time as the watermain. Eckstein explained that, while it is likely rehabilitation will be needed on the sanitary sewer, based on experience with other pipes of this age, it is likely that a cured-in-place pipe (CIPP) will restore the pipe to like-new condition.
The reason the city began looking at this project is that there have been issues with the storm sewer in this area.
The city televised the pipe, and based on a review of this information, Eckstein found the pipe is in generally poor condition with many offset joints and significant deterioration along the entire length of the pipe. Multiple broken and fractured pipe segments were observed. Soil is visible in several areas where the pipe is completely deteriorated.
Eckstein noted that the level of storm sewer pipe deterioration is significant, but it is impossible to predict when a complete failure will appear.
Should a complete failure occur, it would result in a void under the pavement of the street, resulting in pavement failure.
Repair to the sanitary sewer using CIPP liner can be completed at any time due to the trenchless nature of this work.
However, if televising indicates that this is not possible and repair of the sanitary sewer is needed requiring excavation, that work should be completed prior to, or in conjunction with, pavement rehabilitation work.
The council authorized staff to move forward with televising the sanitary sewer, and asked Eckstein to present his findings and recommendations at the next city council meeting.
Appointments for 2018
The council approved annual appointments for 2018, including Larry Hoof, acting mayor; Greg Mueller, assistant weed inspector and city forester; Robert Carlson, emergency management director; Herald Journal, official newspaper; First Community Bank, Lester Prairie and 4M Fund (Municipal Money Market), official depositories; Gavin, Donley & Ostlund LLC, city attorney; Glencoe Regional Health Services, health officer; and Bolton & Menk, city engineer.
Park board members (and term expiration years) include Troy Feltmann, 2019; Larry Roth, 2018; Chris Schultz, 2018; and Gene Starke, 2019.
Planning commission members include Merlin Mathews, 2019; Fred Blaser, 2019; Jeremy Mullery, 2018; and Luke Meyer, 2018.
Economic Development Authority members (and term expiration years) include Councilor Ron Foust, 2018; Gordon Birkholz Jr., 2019; Councilor Tim Dahl, 2020; Paul Christensen, 2021; and Dean Perry, 2022.
The council approved fire department officers for 2018.
They are: Jim Hoof, chief 1; Dave Horsman, chief 2; Matt Tonn, chief 3; Scott Christenson, captain 1; Steve Dietel, captain 2; Chris Bahr, captain 3/training officer; Shadd Dial, secretary; and Paul Christensen, treasurer.
Relief association officers are: Josh Foust, president; Wade Schultz, vice president; Keith Christen, secretary; and Matt Tonn, treasurer.
Fire Chief Jim Hoof presented his annual report.
The department responded to 145 calls for assistance in 2017. This was more than the 129 calls in 2016, but fewer than the 158 calls in 2015.
The department logged a total of 1,605 man-hours in 2017, including 937 for medical assists.
There were nine fire calls, 96 emergency medical services calls, 14 motor vehicle accidents, two hazardous conditions (no fire), three service calls (assist invalid), nine cancelled calls, nine false alarms, and three severe weather call-outs.
The breakdown by district includes 97 calls in the City of Lester Prairie, 20 in Bergen Township, 23 in Winsted Township, and five mutual aid calls to other areas.
The department logged 1,025 man-hours in training during 2017.
The department currently has a full 30-member roster.
Odds and ends
In other business, the council:
• noted that, overall, the city’s actual total expenses for 2017 were 13.05 percent less than budgeted, while total revenues were 9.74 percent more than budgeted.
• approved a request from Bergen Township to allow the township to continue to use the meeting room at city hall for its monthly meetings during 2018 at a rental charge of $45. The city will prepare a memo of understanding outlining the agreement.
• approved a pay increase for Joan Kocourek, an independent contractor who does transcription work for the police department. She currently makes $15 per hour. She requested a 50 cent per hour increase, but the council approved a 30 cent per hour increase (consistent with the 2 percent cost-of-living increase city employees previously received) on a 4-1 vote, with Mayor Eric Angvall and councillors Larry Hoof, Bob Messer, and Ron Foust in favor, and Councilor Tim Dahl opposed.
• approved an agreement with Bolton & Menk to provide engineering services for 2018. The fee increase for the past five years has been less than 3 percent per year.
• adopted a resolution to initiate the process to rezone certain properties from business to residential. Affected residents will be notified, and a public hearing will take place Monday, Feb. 5 at 7:15 p.m. at city hall.