Fountain’s city council held its meeting a week later than usual, addressing various housekeeping issues, including authorizing repairs for Pine and Third streets. The council also discussed items for possible inclusion in the city’s proposed 2015 budget, which is due at state offices on Sept. 30.
The council first accepted a bid from Rochester Sand and Gravel for $44,202.41 to make repairs to Pine and Third streets, as sinking asphalt and concrete have been a problem and other necessary repairs need to be done.
Next, for budgeting purposes, city maintenance foreman John Hanson noted the city’s snow blower is in need of repair or replacement, the lawnmower could use some attention or be traded in, and the slide at the park also needs repair or replacement due to a crack that could become a safety hazard.
The councilors reviewed their pay as city clerk Ronda Flattum stated the last raise the council had given itself was in 2009 and that the average for mayoral pay in area towns is $1,220, and for councilors, $750.
Fountain’s stipend is currently $1,400 for mayor and $800 for council members.
Councilman Jim Schott suggested, “I think we should raise it $100.”
Councilor Chad Wangen countered, “I think we should leave it the same and put a price on special meetings.” He made a motion for such.
Mayor Richard Kujath asked, “Does this include trips, like to the MPCA and Valley Design?”
Flattum related that it would and Wangen proposed the councilors be paid their usual annual pay plus $75 per special meeting. Schott seconded, and the vote passed. The change will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2015.
Wastewater treatment plant business encompassed granting a 2.1 percent raise for services rendered by PeopleService, the company that handles Fountain’s wastewater treatment plant operation.
Hanson noted he will start attending water management school in the fall and the councilors expressed their hope he will possibly be able to operate the wastewater treatment plant someday.
Matters much closer at hand related to the plant’s operation and improvements the city was supposed to have made in order to comply with Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) requirements.
Flattum cited the MPCA and city engineering officials were to be in contact with one another, but no progress had been made.
The city’s engineer, Dave Morrill of McGhie & Betts, was on vacation and could not be reached.
Schott commented, “That’s a big company. There should be somebody to take his place.”
Flattum agreed, “We really need to move on this.”
Schott stated, “I think we need to contact McGhie & Betts and tell them they need to send someone to fill in for Dave Morrill. We’ve got to get this done…we need to get this issue taken care of. This is August. If it isn’t going to work, we’ve got to see if there are other options. If we don’t get it done, we’ll have the MPCA sitting on our doorstep. These improvements should be done.”
Flattum informed the council the city of Stewartville will accept Fountain’s biosolid waste at no charge, in contrast to an offer the city received from another nearby town for $500.
A vote passed to purchase the lot north of the former Willie’s Grocery store for $10,000 since it was blacktopped by the city and used as public parking for the Bent Wrench, Drury’s and other storefronts. The 25-foot by 140-foot parcel’s sale to the city will help keep the street accessible.
Kujath spoke next of a bicycle tour slated to pass through town on Aug. 15, and concerns were raised as to where the participants planned to stay and whether the accommodations were adequate, but with little time to plan, the only things the city could do to assist were to have Hanson check on the cleanliness and availability of restrooms at the park and at the trailhead and provide extra toilet paper. The question arose as to where to put it to prevent it from rolling away and becoming streamers in local trees, and councilors concluded that the $5 invested would not be a great loss if no storage was available.
Fountain Police Chief Tom Mosher was not present to update the council on July’s police activity.
The next meeting of Fountain’s council is set for Thursday, Sept. 4, at 7:30 p.m. at city hall.