Chatfield considers leasing water tower space to Internet provider
Wednesday, July 03, 2013 10:27 AM
Joe Glendee, network engineer from Hiawatha Broadband Corporation (HBC), presented information to the Chatfield City Council at its Monday, June 24, meeting about a request HBC made to lease antennae space on the water tower.
The rural broadband program, HBC Air, is looking to provide Internet service to rural areas. The Chatfield project would also provide service for in-town residents. HBC would pay the city $300 per month for water tower space at no extra cost to the city.
Glendee said HBC has received requests from Mayo Clinic telecommuters who cannot access the Internet using their current connection; HBC Air is sanctioned by the IT department at Mayo.
Following a question by Mayor Russell Smith, Glendee said the range of the signal is mostly determined by line-of-sight. He continued by saying parts of town had spotty service, but the city could determine in the future if they wanted more hotspot services.
Councilman Robert Pederson asked how big these antennae would be and if things could hit them. Glendee responded saying there would be around six white towers roughly three feet tall, which have posed no problem to towers in other cities.
Smith said it would be a good idea since Chatfield was in a valley.
After the council approved the request, Clerk Joel Young specified there would be a five-year agreement with HBC, adjusted each year by 3 percent for inflation.
Twiford and roof projects
City engineer David Morrill told the council they received an estimate of $99,195.82 for their first street project to be completed this summer. The amount due the contractor was five percent less than the value of the work. Morrill said this total fell into the amount the city had budgeted.
The work being done includes milling, concrete work, restoration and bituminous paving on Fourth and Sixth streets from Twiford to Fillmore. The block five alley behind the Lutheran church is also being fixed and should be completed by July 21.
Morrill also presented two roofing bids for city hall. The re-roofing and adding of new insulation would be completed within two weeks prior to Western Days. Extensive discussion was had on the city hall skylights and the process of possibly replacing them.
Councilman Ken Jacobson said it was between fixing them up and keeping the historic preservation or replacing them and losing that appeal.
Councilman Paul Novotny moved to award the bid to Schwickerts for a full re-roof and replacement of the skylights with a caveat to hold on to the old skylights for future purposes.
Young asked if this would prevent the city from getting the old skylights from being refurbished.
Jacobson said that if historical preservation was what the council wanted to go for, they could install the old skylights in the future. "We're splitting hairs on this issue," he said following almost a half hour of discussion on the topic.
In the Joint Powers board update, Councilman Mike Urban said the installation of drinking fountains at the high school, sand volleyball courts and softball field wouldn't be feasible. They would continue to look for lower bids or donations for those projects.
The school will be installing a new mechanism for the tennis court lights. A button will control the lights, which will stay on for a certain amount of time and turn off automatically at a specified time in the evening. The school will also mark a new crosswalk by the parking light.
A redevelopment grant was applied for by the Chatfield Economic Development Authority.
Pederson gave the public services update. He said the Rochester to Chatfield bus service that would provide busing during the day is still in the works.
The Chatfield Ambulance service recently added five new EMTs, which extended its day coverage.
Jacobson said Chatfield Community Television had its annual meeting and discussed making purchases for new equipment and increasing its programming. Smith said CCTV did a great job and that many communities were envious about what Chatfield has with their channel.
In other business, the council members discussed the following issues.
Mayor Smith updated the council on the process of finding a new prosecuting attorney for the city following the resignation of Matthew Opat who is taking the Fillmore County Third District judge's bench. He said the city interviewed two very worthy candidates and placed value on having an attorney who would be close by. The council approved the appointment of Scott Springer as Chatfield's new attorney.
A first consideration was given to a zoning revision specified within Ordinance 408. Young said the changes developed consistency for post-frame or pole building construction, which not all zoning districts clearly addressed.
During the roundtable discussion, Novotny asked about the downtown trees and said there was a business owner who didn't want one right in front of the business.
Pederson shared the experience he had at the League of Minnesota Cities meeting and presented an award from the event to Mayor Smith. It was the City of Excellence Award for Promoting Economic Development through the Chatfield Center for the Arts. "You have to say, this is good," he shared. "Other people recognize us now in the Chosen Valley."