Fountain water tower prime real estate for transmitters
Tuesday, April 09, 2013 10:39 AM
Fountain's city council entertained green and yellow guests last Thursday evening as representatives from SEMA Equipment requested permission to place a John Deere transmitter unit on the city's water tower. The transmitter would be for farmers' use in recording field data, such as how many passes a tractor makes in a field within the 24-mile radius which the transmitter reaches.
SEMA offered the city $1,200 annually, plus the cost of electricity, to operate the transmitter. Councilors noted that they want to be able to help farmers, but that they also don't want to upset AT&T, which also has a lease agreement for water tower antenna rights at $1,200 per month.
The city and SEMA didn't reach an agreement during the meeting, but the council tentatively considered how much space is available for the transmitter's installation.
In other water tower rental business, AT&T proposed a renewal of its contract with Fountain, with four options, the first being renewal of the rental contract for $1,000 a month with a 2 percent increase each year starting in 2016.
The first of the other three options proposed involved AT&T purchasing the water tower for $139,000 and a $99 per year easement fee, followed by purchase proposals in varying amounts, none of which the city was ready to accept because the water tower belongs to the citizens.
Councilman Jim Schott stated, "I don't like the idea of someone owning our water tower. I don't think that will fly...a lot of people in Fountain don't even use AT&T."
Councilman Dave Gudmundson mused, "I think they're doing it to keep everyone else out."
The councilors voted to leave the contract as it stands, with a $1,200 per month lease.
City pay equity
Councilors chose not to employ the services of David Drown & Associates to review the city's pay scale and points system to be in compliance with pay equity statutes.
The council felt that the cost of $1,350 in comparison to the process's possible implications - including causing changes to the pay scale and points system that would put Fountain out of its current compliance - seemed unnecessary.
Fountain City Clerk Ronda Flattum advised the council that it should take action sometime soon, as the perception that in the past, raises had been given equilaterally was only a perception and not fact.
"It didn't happen that way - you thought it did, but it didn't. If you have the proper tools in place, you don't have the issues," she said.
Mayor Richard Kujath suggested the matter be tabled and the council agreed.
After reviewing the new personnel policy, which has been examined by city attorney Kelly Wagner, the council approved it.
Fountain Police Chief Tom Mosher reported on activity during the month of March.
"It was a busy March," he stated, listing a large dog running loose in town. He found that the dog had wandered into town and its owners were unaware of its travels but were glad to round it up.
Mosher cited that he answered several domestic dispute complaints - one in Spring Valley, one in Fountain and another in Wykoff.
He also assisted the Chatfield police in subduing a woman who was found walking down Highway 52 removing her clothing. It was determined that the woman was using methamphetamines. She was sent to Rochester in an ambulance after the officers struggled with her and were finally able to hold her down.
Kujath updated the council on the progress of the revived Fountain Trail Days celebration, as a committee is working to establish funding for the celebration and was on the agenda to request $1,000 from the city but did not appear.
"If they want money from the city, they're going to have to come in and ask," he said.
The festival will remain "Fountain Trail Days," and organizers have begun setting up the necessary insurance for events where beer will be served.
Alley and parking lot
Last, the city council perused the possibility of re-paving the alley and the public parking lot behind the businesses on the west side of town.
Kujath inquired as to whether the entire alley needs re-surfacing.
Maintenance foreman Dan Byer replied that it is "pretty bad since nothing has been done with it for years...the parking lot is pretty well shot." The city would pave behind Frontier Communications and from Willie's Locker to the Bent Wrench, and any footage to be covered behind Drury's would be the responsibility of that business's owners.
Kujath and the council concurred that Drury's owners would have to discuss terms with the contractor the city hires to do the rest of the paving.