April 14, 2023 at 9:23 a.m.
Lindstrom Council tries to get roadwork plan in place
The management plan was presented by city engineer Jon Herdegen and Maintenance Supervisor Matt Fraley. The presentation had a powerpoint display noting all 26 miles of paved roads in the city limits. They used a format that grades the critical condition of each road with various inputs taken at each road. The software then creates three road quality levels. The highest being a rating of 60 and above, where roads would only need chip sealing to keep their level, then a mid-level 30-60, where the roads listed will need rehabilitation soon and finally less than 30, where roads listed will require total reconstruction.
Currently there are 6.12 miles of roads that fall into the highest level. There are 12.41 miles of roads that will be in need of rehabilitation soon. Finally, there are 8.63 miles that fall into the total reconstruction category. A few of those roads include Irene Avenue and North Olinda Trail.
Herdegen then told the council there were three ways of funding road improvements. The general levy, assessments, bonding, water and sewer fees (only can be used when utilities are involved, and state aid which is a proposed highway user tax at the capitol right now.)
Herdegen said Lindstrom only assesses now if a gravel street is upgraded to paved or if curbs and gutters are involved. Herdegen pointed out bonding for road projects can be quite challenging. The state aid (when Lindstrom reaches a population of 5,000) can only be used on roads that begin and end on a state or county road (approximately six miles of roads). A state demographer is scheduled to visit Lindstrom in June. The city was 116 people short of 5,000 last year before the Rose Hill project. State funding would total around $180,000 a year if over 5,000 residents.
They then gave a presentation on the degradation cost of roads where they highlighted a maintenance cost versus letting a road deteriorate doing nothing. They gave a sample size of 1,000 feet of new road as an example. The cost of maintaining a road versus letting it deteriorate over 40 years is right about half.
Herdegen gave examples of increasing the levy. Adding a million dollars a year would affect 70 percent of the roads needing work, increasing it by 1.5 million would affect 91 percent of the roads and increasing it by 2.5 million per year would take care of 100 percent of the roads.
Fraley passed out a spreadsheet that included all roads with their rating. If the city were to fix all of the critical condition roads the costs would total $20,684,000.
Council member Brian Norelius asked what other communities are doing, and City Administrator Melissa Glenna told him other cities assess. They meet with neighborhoods and get info if the neighborhood is comfortable getting assessed the project moves forward, if not, the road is left as is.
Council member Dave Waldoch said he was in favor of assessing because it would increase the value of homes for the homeowners.
Glenna gave an example of a levy increase and increases on taxpayers. If the city increases its levy by $600,000 a $350,000 home would see an increase of $84 per year. If the levy is increased by a million, the cost to a taxpayer would rise to an additional $299 per year.
The main message the council kept repeating was communication with the residents to see what the concensus is. They discussed holding multiple public meetings to meet with residents on the city as a whole, covering projects; or having affected property owners only be charged.
Council member Norelius told the council he would be in favor of scrapping the Irene project and use that money to fix all of the potholes around town. Kirk Bluhm of Bluhm Construction gave a helpful insight, telling the council the cost to fix whether filling potholes or chip sealing runs right about $160,000 per linear foot of roadway. The city has allotted $382,000 for the Irene project.
The council was in agreement about the potholes immediate need. They decided to talk more about eliminating the Irene project in future meetings and focus on Akerson, Neal, Glader and North Olinda Trail.
Council member Waldoch told the council he was in favor of continuing the Irene project because that was already slated for construction.
Mayor Judy Chartrand thanked Herdegen and Fraley multiple times and said this was a great learning and starting point.
The council then heard from Herdegen about the burying of service powerline wires behind the businesses adjacent to the Park Street municipal parking lot. Herdegen told the council there was $260,000 remaining from the franchise fee Xcel pays to Lindstrom. The discussion then turned to location of a large sized transformer. To maximize parking spaces, the transformer’s best site would be the northwest corner (on the sidewalk) near Borealis Dental.
Herdegen showed a few drawings of the parking lot, most of which moved the current driveway entrance to the east edge of the parking lot. The drawings left a gap between the bakery location which is the bakery’s property for a potential drive-thru window.
Moving the driveway eliminates vehicles having to turn around in a confined space.
They also discussed wishes by the owners of Details Salon to keep their existing parking slab that abuts the building.
There had been talk of putting an overhang along the highway side of the lot that would be used for entertainment in the future, but that plan was rejected at the meeting. The council did have interest in pursuing potential ranch gates at each exit with signage for parking. The council decided they will first meet with the businesses affected before having a public hearing.