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September 27, 2020

9/11/2020 8:48:00 AM
Center City Council and Xcel come to terms

A couple of representatives for Xcel Energy attended the Center City Council meeting September 1 to review a planned “viper” switch to improve electric system reliability.  The equipment can be perceived as unsightly in some peoples’ minds, so Xcel was advised by city staff to talk with council about the need for the installation and the location.

The distribution line between the solar array at the county’s public safety center complex and the substation on County Road 14 in Lindstrom, is being impacted.  Center City fuses melt under high loads being sent on the distribution system.  Xcel wants to replace the fuse system and use a viper switch at an existing pole location, making the line capable of handling the loads.
Xcel Engineer Deb Fedder said there’s the potential for 1,200 customers served by the line in that area to be without power, when the fuses overheat.  It takes a couple hours to change the fuses out and it’s not a problem to be taken lightly.  According to Fedder the service area has endured five mini-outages in the last two months.

The switch would be mounted near or at Jeff’s Auto Service property on Highway 8.

After looking at illustrations and much discussion;  the council, on a motion by Jill Behnke, agreed to not oppose the Xcel viper switch installation.

In another matter, Council also voted to allow a variance for setback from the alley reduced to five feet from 10, for a new garage at 133 Mobeck. The impervious surface standard will also be exceeded for the lot. Instead of 25 percent there will be 40 percent with this structure.

Property resident Garrett Bolineau attended the council meeting and agreed to all the planning commission recommendations for the garage, which replaces one that was destroyed by fire.  Then the city got a bonus -- Bolineau applied for a vacant seat on the commission and was appointed to serve. The planning commission is now at full strength.

Public Works Director Eric Garner reports the crack-sealing and overlay work on a couple city streets will be done this fall.  
The city hall parking area was just paved but then the company had another commitment.  Center Avenue residents especially will get a notice to clear the route of vehicles and objects when asphalt work is scheduled.

The CARES Act funding being distributed to cities, towns and counties amounts to about $47,000 for Center City.  Council voted 5-0 last week to use about $3,000 to buy a laptop for remote work chores that confront the clerk, and for five new Chromebooks for Internet-based meetings and electronic communications in these covid-19 restricted times.  City Clerk Norma Anderson estimated she’s been involved in at least one Zoom remote meeting via Internet weekly.

Remaining covid-19 emergency funds are being earmarked for uses by city businesses, etc.  Council members Scott Anderson and Behnke were named to a subcommittee to set up a Center City form to apply for funds and they will recommend spending while coordinating with the county HRA/EDA CARES Act application process.

The concentration of telecommunications antennae atop the main water tower continues to be an issue.  AT &T is wanting to increase equipment and the weight and strain on the tower is in dispute.  The company says there’s capacity left and the city engineer disagrees saying the tower space/weight is 100 percent used.

Council was advised the current multi-year contract expires in 2021 and that may be the opportune time to negotiate with the company.  In the meantime, council approved a motion to ask AT&T for $2,500 for a preliminary structural analysis to be done.  
Center City gets $1,600 per month leasing the tower. Council members were of a mind to negotiate for more, but the income is not something the city wants to lose either.

The new neighborhood platted on the Freundschuh parcel on South Center Lake is ready to close-out.  The developer deposits funds with the city to ensure certain items get done and the road and storm water etc have been signed-off on.  

There has been one new home built in the highway farmstead.

Council asked about the sewer infrastructure--recalling that  the lots need grinder systems to be able to access the municipal sewer system.  Concern was new buyers on Orchard Court wouldn’t be aware of the necessity to have a grinder unit included in construction.  

City staff assured council  when building permits are pulled is the time that owners are informed of the grinder requirement.
There is a special budget session set for September 14 at 3 p.m.

And, Center City Clerk Norma Anderson announced her final day will be end of June 2021.  Council agreed  it will be hard to find somebody to replace her successfully and that the budget will need to be built to accommodate this.

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