8/15/2013 3:24:00 PM Center City Council sees thousands in delinquent utility accounts
by COLLEEN KASTANEK
by COLLEEN KASTANEK CORRESPONDENT The Center City EDA meets alternate months before the council meeting. Last week, the members welcomed Nancy Hoffman, Chisago County’s new HRA-EDA Executive Director. Hoffman gave a brief summary of the county’s participation in various organizations and real estate programs that make the county visible and appealing to perspective businesses. Hoffman mentioned that the County Business Park is a good fit for data centers because it has several broadband providers.
Likewise, EDA members informed Hoffman of Center City’s EDA activities, including the revolving loan fund, which currently has $22,000 available. Mayor Jill Behnke called the monthly meeting to order a few minutes after 7 pm. Council member Scott Anderson was absent. The delinquent water and sewer hearing commenced at 7:15. The council reviewed 21 delinquent accounts totaling $15,151. Closing the hearing 20 minutes later, the council reopened its regular meeting to act on the information that had been provided by city staff. Mark Wolcott made a motion to accept the payment plan that several of the account holders had offered, then withdrew his motion. The council unanimously approved a motion, as recommended by the city attorney, to have city staff send a form letter to all delinquent account holders. The letter will include the city’s shut-off policy and the date of the shut-off hearing September 3 at 7:15. Information in the letter will inform account holders how to certify a payment plan to avoid shut off.
Public Works Superintendent Eric Garner reported that the culvert that drains overflow water from Pioneer Lake to North Center Lake is open. The water level in Pioneer Lake was down on the day the Minnesota Rural Water Association videoed the 50-foot culvert. The council viewed the video of the dry culvert that showed evidence that the culvert is corroding. Garner estimated that the culvert has about two years left, depending on the level of Pioneer Lake. A high water flow will hasten the culvert’s deterioration, he said. Garner asked the council to purchase a line tracer so the city can provide prompt underground service locates. Besides being a safety factor, Garner said immediate locates, made possible by owning the piece of equipment, will create efficiency and save on third party charges. The council unanimously approved $125 tuition for Garner to attend an MWRA line tracing class later this month.
Garner said he thinks the tracer that would work best for Center City runs about $3500, but another benefit of the class is that vendors will be present. Garner will learn how to use numerous tracers and sales representatives will be available to suggest the best tracer for Center City’s needs. The council also approved up to $829 for the purchase of a weed whip and power pole trimmer. Following the recommendation of the Personnel Committee, the council unanimously approved Garner’s request to work Monday through Thursday 7 am to 4 pm, and Friday 7 am to 1 pm. The council will assess Garner’s schedule at his six-month review in December. City Attorney Peter Grundhoefer reported that the owner of Marine Dock and Lift, Dwight Radjl, does not want to grant a permanent drainage easement across his property so that the city can install a rain garden adjacent to his business.
The council unanimously approved Lloyd Vetter’s motion to “move on” and pursue installation at a different location using SWCD funding. Grundhoefer also reported that the city’s water tower lease is not exclusive to AT&T. An engineering study a few months ago determined that the tower could safely accommodate up to three more antennae. The council directed city staff to respond to a request for information on tower availability from another communications provider. The council addressed a letter of complaint regarding appearance, vandalism, safety and health concerns at the abandoned property. City and county building inspectors will investigate. Council members reviewed the three-day Center City Days celebration. While the event’s evening dance probably qualified as “the smallest street dance in the U.S.,” due to rain, other events, such as the car show and kiddie activities, saw increased participation as compared to previous years.
In other business the council: • Unanimously approved Madonna Higgins’ motion to submit a request for a marked crosswalk across Highway 8 at Dew Drop Lane from MnDOT
• Accepted a donation for $4704 on behalf of the Center City Fire and Rescue from MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company
• Scheduled a second budget meeting for Tuesday August 27, 7 pm. Center City will gain $10,000 in LGA funding for 2014
• Scheduled an Ordinance meeting for Thursday August 29 10:00 am