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Winsted approves fee schedule for 2020
Jan. 10, 2020

Ivan Raconteur

WINSTED, MN – Winsted City Council, during its meeting Jan. 7, adopted the city’s updated fee schedule for 2020.

Some of the major changes include:

• Water rate, per 1,000 gallons, increased from $3.61 to $3.79;

• Water rate, minimum, per month, increased from $6.54 to $6.87;

• Sewer rate, per 1,000 gallons, from $14.29 to $16;

• Sewer rate, minimum, per month, from $11.11 to $12.44;

• Park capital improvement fee, per month, from $1.74 to $1.82;

• Business subsidy application fee, from no charge to $100.

• Cleaning fee, city hall, from $29 per hour to $75 per time;

• Vollmer room rental fee, per hour, from $32 to $50.

The council conducted a public hearing regarding the proposed changes to the fee schedule before it was adopted. No comments were received.

Rain gardens

During the work session prior to the regular council meeting, the council considered water quality improvements for Winsted Lake.

Josh Eckstein of Bolton & Menk provided cost estimates related to options the council discussed during a previous work session.

The discussion was specifically related to items that could potentially be added to the scope of the McLeod Avenue improvement project, including rain gardens in Hainlin Park and Mill Reserve Park.

Eckstein reviewed estimated costs and benefits for various options.

He summarized his conclusions in a memo to the council, noting:

• Hainlin Park rain garden has a high cost-per-acre treated due to limited available drainage area as a result of State Aid storm sewer design standards required as part of the Local Road Improvement Program grant.

• Construction of rain garden number 3 (Mill Reserve Park) may be difficult due to steep grades within the park and may require a retaining wall. Construction of this rain garden would be more efficient and cost effective if completed as part of a future First Street South improvement project.

• Funding for storm water quality improvements is not currently available. Funding opportunities will be monitored, and it is likely that opportunities will become available through the McLeod Soil and Water Conservation District or Crow River Watershed Organization at some point in the future.

The consensus of the council was to move forward with the design of the McLeod Avenue project without including rain gardens. It was noted the options available are not cost effective, and the resources could be better used elsewhere.

St. Mary’s report

Betsy Bain, administrator of St. Mary’s Care Center, presented an organization report about the facility.

She noted she recently celebrated her first year in the position.

Bain said St. Mary’s has been busy with capital improvements, including a new walk-in cooler and roof repairs.

She also noted she was very excited to report that the facility will be getting all new windows this year.

Bain said she has heard rumors that the facility will be closing. She stated that St. Mary’s is in receivership, and is for sale, but there are no plans to close the facility.

“We are not shutting down,” Bain said.

She noted that, like many health care facilities, finding staff has been a challenge. She noted opportunities are available for interested applicants.

She described some of the wellness activities that have been taking place at St. Mary’s, including a pen pal program that pairs residents with elementary students.

In response to questions from the council, Bain said the occupancy at the facility has been “ebbing and flowing.” She also noted St. Mary’s is not a Veterans Administration-contracted facility, but said it would be “a great benefit for the community” if it were.

Bain expressed appreciation for the volunteers who help at the facility, and said St. Mary’s would not be what it is without its volunteers. Opportunities are available for those who are interested.

“The community is very fortunate to have an asset like St. Mary’s,” Mayor Steve Stotko commented.

Odds and ends

In other business, the council:

• scheduled a city council goal-setting session for Wednesday, Jan. 22, at 9 a.m. in the Vollmer Room at Winsted City Hall.

• authorized the city administrator to execute a quote from CR Electric, Inc. to supply and install one new LED premium floodlight to illuminate the north side of the water tower, for a cost not to exceed $3,000.

• adopted a resolution to accept a contribution from gambling proceeds from the Winsted Volunteer Fire Department Relief Association in the amount of $40,000 to be dedicated toward the Winsted Volunteer Fire Department’s capital improvement plan.

• heard a status report on city council priorities from City Administrator Adam Birkholz.

• heard a report on the public works department from public works supervisor Dave Meyer, who recently started his 19th year with the city.

• heard from Birkholz there is a vacancy on the city’s planning commission. Information is available at city hall.

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