The Chatfield City Council determined to approve a sales tax distribution agreement with the city of Rochester at its July 22 regular meeting. The agreement will give a per capita amount of money back to roughly 17 cities near Rochester, whose residents spend money in Rochester and contribute to its sales tax revenue.

City Clerk Joel Young said the first half of the payment would come to the city in about a month with the second half arriving next year. The city will receive an estimated $297,000 that will be dedicated toward economic development projects.

The resolution was approved unanimously.

Street improvement project

City engineer David Morrill presented the council with a second pay estimate for the 2013 street project. Morrill explained the city had started putting the project together in March of this year and received a low bid from Pember Companies, Inc., for roughly $179,000.

He went on to explain between the time the city received the quote and started the work, some adjustments had been made. Five pedestrian ramps, driveway widening and bituminous paving throughout the city were added to the project list via a city request. Morrill said the additional work still brought the total cost of the entire project slightly under budget. The project was completed two weeks early.

Upgrade for dialer system

Wastewater Treatment Plant Superintendent Darryl Haner asked the council to approve an upgrade to the dialer system at the city's two remote lift stations near the Skate Park and near the Lonestone subdivision.

He said the current cost of the landline system is roughly $60 every month per lift station. Haner commented he thought it was a lot to pay each month. The automatic dialing system calls people in the event of a plant emergency needing immediate response.

"It's like an elevator phone. It's there in case you need it," he stated.

Councilman Ken Jacobson said it was his understanding that the new system wouldn't be used any more than the landline.

Councilman Mike Urban asked if other communities had used the system and if there were concerns with reliability.

Haner said it would be as reliable as the cell phones receiving the call. He explained he would like to switch over to a cellular system to reduce monthly costs. He pointed out that it would work in the budget, "depending on how Joel looks at it."

Young clarified that statement by explaining that $13,000 had been budgeted in 2013 for an Alliant Energy loan repayment, which had already been met. The cost of the new phone system would be $6,771 for a three-year contract. This option will allow the project to be paid back in approximately seven years.

The council approved the request.

Committee reports

Councilman Robert Pederson gave the Public Services report, in which he addressed the Western Days float and who actually owns it. The current float with the chestnut horse on it was started 25 years ago. The city has been taking care of it in terms of housing.

Pederson said the committee discussed how it was time to spruce up the float. A committee may be set up in the future to address this and figure out who owns the float between the Commercial Club, city, and the Western Days Committee.

"Maybe it will continue to be a handshake between the three. Either way, we'll have a float," Pederson said.

He also mentioned the difficulty the tourism center has seen in the decline of volunteer staff. The operations will be reviewed as the season transitions into the fall to see what needs to be done.

He also asked people to consider volunteering to water flowers along the main street.

Pederson said four EMTs passed their certification test and would be joining the service. He also mentioned the city should look at getting the same dispatch software for the police department as the county now has with LETG.

In an upcoming meeting, the city will consider the purchase of an all-terrain vehicle for police chief Shane Fox. Mayor Russell Smith said with the weather during the winter, it would be a good idea to have four-wheel drive.

Jacobson gave the Parks and Recreation update and mentioned several upgrades that are being looked at for the pool. There may be installations of two new heaters and it will also need new caulk and paint.

Chimney repairs

City Superintendent Tony Lammers told the council the chimney at the fitness center had been leaking since heavy rains last fall. Following the large amount of rain during this past spring, Lammers said it was apparent the chimney had to be taken care of. It was decided the chimney would be removed and the exhaust be re-piped to the outside.

The city received two bids from contractors Schwickerts and Allweather. Schwickerts had included an additional bid for the option of leaving the chimney and re-piping the furnace and air conditioning anyway.

Lammers recommended that Schwickerts remove the chimney and take care of other work relating to roof damage. He said he would like flat city roofs to be inspected at least once a year for damage. The council approved the recommendation from Lammers.

Other business

In other business, the council handled the following issues.

• Lammers recommended the council purchase a 2006 bucket truck to replace the city's old one. He stated he was concerned about the engine and transmission on their current one. The truck would be used around town. The old truck would be sold on a public surplus website. The council approved the purchase.

• Young agreed to serve on the Rochester Area Economic Development, Inc., (RAEDI) which would allow Chatfield to have their voice heard in regional economic planning. The council approved his decision.

• Young reported that Chatfield had grown by one person in June 2012, according to the state demographer's estimate of 2,794 with 1,100 households.