PHOTO BY ANTON ADAMEK/CHATFIELD NEWSMayor Donald Hainlen, at left, presents a plaque with “The Athenian Oath” to Robert “Pete” Pederson after he took the oath of office at the Chatfield City Council meeting last week.

Mayor Donald Hainlen, at left, presents a plaque with “The Athenian Oath” to Robert “Pete” Pederson after he took the oath of office at the Chatfield City Council meeting last week.
In its first meeting in 2013, the Chatfield City Council swore in and formally welcomed Robert "Pete" Pederson to the council. Pederson was the only new councilmember to be elected.

"It's good to be on board," shared Pederson. "I didn't join to grind an ax; I'm here to do my very best."

City Clerk Joel Young mentioned, "I think it's going to be a fun and exciting year, but that also means it will be challenging and we'll need courage."

Mayor Dr. Donald Hainlen gave an address that reflected upon the past year, which included the successes and challenges as well as the immediate outlook for the city.

"I think it's a good thing to reflect," stated Hainlen, who also added that he thought the city's work on the sewer lines was very important for both the short-term and the long-term.

He also highlighted the business activity the city has seen in the past year. The mayor shared that the city saw several businesses open for the first time and several more expand or begin the process of expanding, which he said is "creating a healthy atmosphere."

Hainlen also commended the successes with the use of the website in selling outdated city equipment. "We've seen greater interest in the items," shared Hainlen, "and higher sale prices." The mayor also noted improved communication as a result of the council's technological update to iPads.

Looking forward to 2013, the mayor highlighted the continuing repairs being made to the sewer system as well as the removal of the trees along the downtown sidewalk area which are making the sidewalk increasingly unsafe. Hainlen mentioned the loss of the local motel in the past year and added that there is some discussion occurring for the construction of a new motel.

The mayor reasserted his support for the Chatfield Center for the Arts citing it as an "asset to the quality of life."

In his concluding remarks, the mayor added that he feels responsible to continue to provide resources for the city and that he is also looking forward to the opportunities to do so in 2013.

Tony Lammers, superintendent of city services, spoke to the council about the downtown sidewalks and the trees that are causing much of the upheaval issues. "They are getting in pretty bad shape," Lammers summarized, pointing out that one sidewalk has lifted two inches.

He proposed that the city remove each tree causing a problem, 15 in all. Councilmember Paul Novotny agreed with the removal of the trees, but shared he thought some other ornament would have to take their place. Lammers reciprocated that idea by asking if the city would consider putting new trees in place of the old ones.

After little discussion on the topic of replacement, Lammers received a question from Hainlen on when the city could start work. Lammers said that the tops of the trees could be removed in the winter, but that the trunks would have to wait until spring, adding also that if the city chose to fill in the empty spots with concrete, that would have to wait until spring as well.

Councilmember Russ Smith said that it might be better if the city waited until spring since leaving just the trunks along the sidewalk would create additional safety hazards. Hainlen stated that the city needed a complete package, including price quotes on how much it would cost to remove the trees and fix the sidewalks. The council decided to continue the discussion in the public works committee.

Lammers also addressed the current status of the sewer work being done as well as what is planned for the future. "We're looking at our options," stated Lammers, "and things are looking good to get the sewer work done."

Lammers mentioned that some of the pipes have broken clay tile, which would create massive problems if ever there was a back-up issue. The piping would be replaced soon and two manholes that are shifting opposite a pipe are being looked at for recasting of the manhole lining.

Lammers shared good news relating to the water lines, mentioning that only some needed work thus far. The council authorized a top 10 list of necessary sewer system repairs to be completed with an estimate cost of over $100,000. The money, as outlined in a letter from the city engineer, would mostly come from the sanitary sewer fund. The rest of the money would come from other sources of revenue within the next few years.

In the same vote, the council authorized a mill and overlay project for Fourth, Fifth and Sixth streets that would span one block east and west of Main Street. This project would include replacement or repairing of curbs and gutters, pedestrian ramps, and walkways and would be completed in 2013.

In other news, the council handled the following issues.

• The council approved liquor and beer licenses for eight local businesses and restaurants.

• The council approved a resolution for an agreement with Chatfield Trails, Inc., to provide city support in maintaining the ATV trail.

• Dan Jaquith was hired as the city's emergency management consultant.

• Nancy Trimm was hired to the EMS support position, who was strongly recommended based on her experience as an EMT, EMS instructor, and other professional qualities.

• The council also approved officer positions for the Chatfield Fire Department including Keith Brady as fire chief, Dean Irish as first assistant chief, Brian Burkholder as second assistant chief, Dan Jaquith as training and safety officer, Ryan Priebe as secretary and Tim Danielson as treasurer.

• Finally, the council was reminded about a Health and Resource Fair at St. Mary's Church on Saturday, Jan. 26, that will take place from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Young mentioned it is a good opportunity to help citizens be more aware of services the city provides.