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May 26, 2019

4/26/2019 10:48:00 AM
Lindstrom Council OK's ARMER contract haltingly

The Lindstrom City Council, minus member AnnMarie Brink, last week reluctantly put a stamp of approval on the county’s ARMER radio subscription contract on behalf of the police and fire departments, and agreed to accept surplus county-bought radios being offered to local fire and police at no charge.

But, Lindstrom City Attorney Amy Schutt remarked that if this were a final contract,  instead of just an interim one-year agreement, she would be advising council against signing it.  

City Administrator John Olinger suggested that as the permanent contract gets written over the remainder of 2019, that the city authorize Schutt to represent the city.  Council member William Schlumbohm, who worked as a technology networking consultant before retirement, will also be involved.

Some issues that the city still has concerns about include network regulations and if the contract truly considers all the emergency network members’ interests.

The allied emergency radio matrix and its proprietary frequencies in Minnesota require agreements be in place for parties to be on the system and talk groups.  The county started the process of developing this new contract as the first ARMER agreement appraoched expiration in 2018.  There have been repeated reviews of contract language and a special meeting held with many local units of governments, and a handful of those involved in the agreement have adopted it so far.  This interim wording gets radio ownership and user basics addressed and liability conditions are covered.

In other business, the council approved annexing in township lots,  on north Olinda Avenue, close to the Allemansratt Park border. The gravel stretch of Olinda Trail will also be paved from the end of the improved part of Olinda, when city sewer and water are also extended-- which was a request of one of the annexed-in property owners.  A resident in the nearby Cedar Ridge neighborhood area asked a couple questions, during the public hearing,  but there was no opposition.

Council approved the annexation and utility extension project 4-0.

A homeowners’ association-owned road,  Lake Ridge, across from the high school, was approved for reconstructing, paving and a turnaround and drainage improvements.  This private road project will be paid for by the association and then the city will accept the neighborhood’s petition for the city to takeover the road as a public street.

The city engineering firm MSA ran some models on flooding problems, related to the chronic drainage issues between Lions Park pond and Pleasant Hill park.  Intersections are frequently under-water and an open swale retains standing water in peoples’ backyards nearly year-round.   

Engineer Jon Herdegen went over several options for up-sizing storm sewer pipe, for re-directing run-off, etc. and council agreed the city is still not where it needs to be financing-wise.  

Herdegen said the hydrologic problems are mot new problems,  and also can not be attributed to any one structure or cause. Any fix will be costsly.  Even just getting into the drainage system to televise its physical condition is spendy.  Council did okay a quote from Hydro-Klean,  to do view and jet a length of pipe between the Lions Park area and Pleasant Hill.  This task is $6,143.  

City Administrator John Olinger advised that the engineer can help council rank projects and review a more comprehensive resolution in the context of a multi-year approach, during a work session discussion in the future.

MSA also got the green light to begin an analysis of Lindstrom’s water storage and pressure and sewer system capability and calculate what the systems will serve as far as population growth and if there are needs looming.  These studies are estimated at $16,000 and $19,000 and the city will pay for them out of utility-supported funds built for this purpose.

Engieering will also start a feasibility study to extend services to properties on Lindstrom Lane, 306th and the area near where the new senior living facility Rose Hill is planned.  The feasibility study is the first step in the assessment process.

In a related matter a homeowner on Lehigh Avenue asked council to consider giving him an option to pay assessments as a small increase on taxes over many years.  His bill for water and sewer hook-up alone, will be over $9,000.  He told council he agreed to annex into the city in 2005 when he was told sewer services were coming soon.  

But for 14 years he’s had to use septic pumpers for a holding tank, and paid “city property tax” while not receiving the extended services promised.  He said meantime, neighbors on Lehigh, stayed in the township enjoying its reduced tax burden.

Council consensus was that payments could be eased for this citizen, and staff will make a recommendation on a policy for the utility extension projects.

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