11/15/2012 9:17:00 AM Council clearing up old business after election day
BY COLLEEN Kastanek
Center City’s voter turnout was commendable, city staff reported to the council at the monthly meeting on the evening after election. Clerk Terrie Trudeau reported that there were 378 voters on the roster and election officials registered 44 more on election day for a total of 345 Center City residents in the 2012 general election. The voters returned Mark Wolcott to the council and Scott Anderson unseated Kristopher Jensen. Mayor Behnke ran unopposed. Council (with Jensen absent) unanimously certified the election results last week. The council approved partial pay estimates for construction projects that are winding down for the season.
The largest check went to Dressel Contracting for $206,189. When City Engineer Les Mateffy reported that the parking lot between City Hall and Silver Shears will not be done before winter, the discussion turned to downtown parking. Council members said vehicles have been angle parked in the parallel areas and parking is in a state of confusion. “When will downtown be striped, or at least have parking signs?” the council asked. Following more discussion, including the weather forecast for a mild end-of-the-week, Mayor Behnke directed Mattefy to have parking areas striped in the downtown business district before the weekend. Installing the rain garden by Marine Dock and Lift will also have to wait until Spring. The council extended terms for the grant that will fund that project. Maintenance Supervisor Paul Harvey reported that the poles for the sign listing downtown business are installed, but the company intended to manufacture the business-name panels has gone out of business. Sharon Clinch, attending the meeting for another matter, gave the council a lead to another local sign company. Mateffy reported that Sogard Electric is scheduled to install the poles to illuminate the Mobeck and Lindecke/CR9 intersections, per council action at last month’s meeting.
Mayor Behnke said she would like the installation completed (electrified) in time for the “Small Town Christmas Celebration” lighting ceremony, Friday November 30. Mateffy also reported that Keuchle Underground is scheduled to repair Per Road in the County Business Park. Mayor Behnke said that the County Highway Department has agreed to make the first pass for plowing and the city will do the final snow clean up. The county will plow the parking lot at the new Communication Center. The approval for pay estimate #5 to Wholesale Plumbing Inc. for $2090 was unanimously approved after questions from the mayor about the warranty and installation schedule. Bringing Well #1 online is still two weeks out, according to the city engineer. On the legal agenda, City Attorney Peter Grundhoefer reviewed the proposal through a third party from AT&T to continue leasing on the city’s water tower. AT&T wants to delay renewing the agreement until it installs three new antennae and supporting equipment on the tower, which is allowed under the 2005 agreement.
The city engineer expressed concerns about the increased possibility of wind damage with more equipment on the single pole tower, possible damage to the bowl of the tower at point of installation, load, and interference with county equipment already on the tower. The council will address terms of the lease next month after Grundhoefer gets reports from the county engineer and certification from the AT&T engineer addressing these concerns. In a financial matter, Grundhoefer asked the council if it would like to offer Hazelden a partial refund on conduit bonding for its Plymouth project. Hazelden paid Center City the difference for the higher interest rate charged on Center City bonds due to the Hazelden conduit bonding last year. Center City has since refinanced these bonds at a lower interest rate, hence, the original amount Hazelden paid Center City is in “excess”. Center City is not required to make this refund, but the council agreed that it is the considerate thing to do. The council directed city staff to make the calculation for the refund, expected to be less than $15,000. The council heard Sharon Clinch’s complaint that her invisible pet fence, in city right of way, had three breaks during construction this summer. The city engineer said that Gopher State One Call does not locate private utilities, such as underground fences, and that he has no way of knowing who broke the line Mateffy added that he appreciates private utilities such as underground sprinklers on right of way because they make private property look maintained right up to the road; however, placed only a few inches below the surface, they are at risk, even from snowplows.
Clinch said she learned that she was responsible for the line and for notifying the city before construction after the line was broken during county construction in July 2011. She said her complaint was that she had notified the city this year, but again, construction proceeded without her being able to warn crews that there was a wire laid withn three inches of the surface, in the right of way. The council and staff discussed that there is no system to track private lines in right of way and wondered if something could be implemented. Madonna Higgins added that, unfortunately, paying, Clinch’s claim, ($106) would set a precedent. The city attorney suggested that the Ordinance Committee review right of way uses at its November 20 meeting. Mayor Behnke reported that the Parks Committee is hosting a volunteer recognition dinner on Tuesday November 13, at Swedish Village Inn. Approximately 50 volunteers are invited, including Park Rangers and Scouts who improved city parks this past year. In other business the council: • Unanimously approved the standard operating procedures for the fire department • Scheduled a meeting with the Maintenance Department for 3 p.m. December 16 to map out winter maintenance strategy