DASSEL, MN At the request of Julie Schumann of Discover Dassel, the Dassel City Council clarified how it determines funding for local volunteer organizations during its meeting Monday evening.
Schumann said members of Discover Dassel were concerned because their understanding had been that a $5,000 beautification and banners line item in the city budget was theirs to use, and that unused funds would roll over for use in following years. Schumann presented council minutes and emails which backed her claims.
Schumann also questioned why the Home to Roost group had received $1,025 from the same line item for their post-card project.
She wanted to make sure council members understood that Discover Dassel and Home to Roost were two different groups.
Council Member James Hallquist said he could understand some of the confusion, based on an email of his that was included in Schumann’s presentation.
During discussion, the council clarified the $5,000 beautification and banners line item in question was designated for beautification projects within the city, but not earmarked for a particular organization.
Organizations such as Discover Dassel and Home to Roost are welcome to apply for city funding support at any time. Projects may be funded at the council’s discretion from the $5,000 beautification and banners line item in the budget, or from unallocated funds.
The council authorized Discover Dassel to proceed with ordering spring plants and supplies, to be funded from the remaining monies in the $5,000 beautification and banners budget line item.
The council also authorized a contract with Midwest Garden Company, for maintenance of the plantings from approximately mid-May until the end of the growing season in mid-October.
Clearing the air
Mechele Pitchford approached the council to reiterate her concerns regarding odiferous air coming from Nelson Tubs, at 961 1st St.
“They should not be allowed to pollute the air for miles around,” she said.
Mayor Ron Hungerford said he had spoken to Eric Nelson, owner of Nelson Tubs, within the past 10 days. Hungerford said Nelson had assured him plans had been made to install an air filtration system, but overseas manufacture of parts was causing a delay. He reported that Nelson said he was searching for a US-based manufacturer.
Pitchford said she wanted a timeline for the installation of the filtration system, or, if that wasn’t available, she wanted the city to shut Nelson Tubs down.
Hungerford indicated it would be cost-prohibitive for the city to shut the business down.
“They really have you over the barrel,” Pitchford replied.
Hungerford said he would call Nelson within the next several days to inquire about a specific timeline.
“I’d caution that it doesn’t keep getting kicked down the road indefinitely,” Pitchford said.
City engineer Chuck DeWolf told the council plans for the 2020 improvement projects were complete, and the project was ready to be advertised for bids.
The project scope includes:
• Lake Street replacement of an old, failing storm sewer main from east of Willis Street to Spring Lake.
• Galigers Lane total reconstruction of the street from Pacific Avenue to the south, approximately 500 feet.
• Summit Hills rehabilitation of the streets along Summit Cove and Hilltop Drive, and removing sediment and repairing erosion around the two stormwater ponds.
• Southwest area total reconstruction of the streets and utilities along C.J. Moe Boulevard, from Sellards Drive to 7th Street and Edminster Circle, extending new storm sewer main from these streets to the south stormwater pond, and removing sediment from the south stormwater pond.
The estimated total cost of the project is $2,180,220.
The council approved the plans, and ordered advertising for bids.
Odds and ends
In other business, the council:
• reviewed Dassel Fire Advisory Board annual meeting minutes; approved hiring Zach Ricke as a volunteer firefighter; and noted the department responded to 18 calls during February.
• reviewed the city municipal liquor store February report, which detailed a monthly gross profit of 23 percent.
• reviewed the most recent Dassel Area Historical Society report, which detailed staff is actively planning programming. The report also indicated staff was looking at improving the Mushroom Building property, with the assistance of Dave Peterson, a descendent of the Belin family, who built the structure.
• heard from Public Works Director Mitchell Otten that rehab on the water department’s Pump #1 had been completed with good results. Following cleaning of the screens and the pump refurbishment, the well’s pumping abilities tripled. Otten also noted sewer pond levels were approximately 3 feet lower than they were last year at this time.
• reviewed the monthly citizen complaint report. An abatement notice was sent to the property owner at 521 Maple Street for the second time. An abatement notice was also sent to the property owner at 520 Simon Avenue. The council asked Boese to proceed with legal process against the properties.
• reviewed Meeker County Public Health information about novel Coronavirus/COVID-19.
“As a council, we need to look at what other cities are doing, and see how we are prepared as a city,” Hungerford said. He indicated he was prepared to call an emergency meeting of the city council to plan and prepare. He said citizens could expect frequent updates, as the situation is expected to change rapidly. He encouraged residents to check the city’s website and social media pages. Information was also to be posted at the entrance of city buildings. Updates will also be provided in the Enterprise Dispatch and at dasselcokato.com
“The biggest thing is communication, communication, communication,” Hungerford said.