After consulting with maintenance supervisor Chad Hindt and Bolton and Menk Engineering representative Byan Holtz, City Administrator Deb Zimmer briefed the Spring Valley City Council on the results of the camera inspection and jetting of some of the city’s sewer lines during the July 28 council meeting.
“There are some issues and we are trying to work out a way to best address that,” she told the council. “Right now what we would like to do is camera some more line in town and put together a proposal for some grant money.”
She asked the council to approve up to $50,000 for a camera inspection on areas around the Pleasant Avenue and Washington Avenue neighborhoods. The funds are currently available in the sewer fund.
“There are no guarantees ever. But it will also give you a clearer picture of what some lines’ issues are. To save us any money we really need to get one of the grants,” Zimmer said, though she admitted it may take over a year to receive the grants.
The council approved the camera inspection up to the requested amount.
Street sweeper
Due to continuing mechanical issues with the city’s street sweeper the council discussed purchasing a replacement.
“The one we have right now is an air sweeper, so when you get into heavy debris, like sand, there’s too much material,” Hindt described. “I know I’m over $2,000 in repairs for parts this year already and we haven’t even made it to fall yet.”
Not only is the current sweeper costing the city in repairs, but also in man hours since it takes numerous passes to actually sweep the streets.
The used sweeper they are looking to buy is a mechanical sweeper, which physically sweeps the street with a broom and puts debris into a hopper. The cost is $59,000 including the $6,000 trade-in value for the old machine. A new sweeper was estimated to cost $190,000.
The council approved the purchase with funding coming from the storm sewer fund.
Wastewater treatment contract
“We now contract with them (People’s Service) for wastewater treatment. They manage the plant for us. We pay all the insurance, utilities and up to $10,000 for maintenance,” Zimmer explained.
With the contract coming up for renewal on Jan. 1, she has been researching the possibilities of once again making this a city position, so when not working at the plant they would be able to assist other departments.
“The biggest reason for the switch is for man power. Right now we have two employees that once they are done with their work we can’t use them for anything else,” said Zimmer. “There isn’t a lot of ongoing, daily work out there that needs to be done, so we could use them to help with snow removal or mowing.”
The savings is estimated to be $60,000 to $80,000.
The council approved the motion to advertise for the position.
Department head reports
Hindt explained he has been working with Bolton and Menk to GPS locate the city’s sanitary sewers, manholes, catch basins and other structures. This information will allow them to know exactly where these are during future construction.
The summer rec programs have now ended, according to Parks and Rec director John Fenske. He noted the South Park bathrooms have received many compliments since their completion.
Library director Jennifer Simon reported the library’s summer reading program has also come to an end. A total of 140 local children were registered this year, making it one of the largest groups ever for the library.
She also noted there are now two openings on the library board as one member has now retired and another recently moved.
Council member Todd Jones spoke for the absent Troy Lange, fire chief, telling the council it has been a slow month other than a handful of weather watches.
Other business
• “We’ve done the interviews for the ambulance director. They all have their pros and cons. But we have one that keeps ringing the bell for us,” Jones told the council. “I’d like to recommend Ryan Marking.”
Jones made the motion and the council approved. However, Zimmer said later in the week that he declined to take the position.
• Zimmer announced the water test taken from Washington Avenue after the previous council meeting came back clean according to Spring Valley Public Utilities superintendent Stu Smith.
• Fillmore County commissioner candidate Harry Root introduced himself to the council and gave a brief summary on his position on issues affecting the county.
The next council meeting will be held on Aug. 11 at 6 p.m.