Fountain City Council begins new year, swears in new mayor and council members

After being sworn in by City Clerk Rhonda Flattum new Mayor Jim Schott administered the oath of office to Ron Reisner and Terry Hanson. BRETTA GRABAU/NEWS LEADER
By : 

The Fountain City Council began the 2019 year on Wednesday, Jan. 2, with the swearing in of the new mayor, Jim Schott, and two new council members, Ron Reisner and Terry Hanson.

At the meeting, the new council members were briefed on the history behind the IPP agreement with Valley Design and its disposal of waste through the wastewater treatment plant. WSB’s Matt Mohs also updated the council on activity done in the past month to bring this issue closer to the finish line. He and a few others met with Valley Design to get an extensive tour of the plant before Christmas so all could understand the aspects of the agreement.

Mohs noted communication was the important thing the parties were driving towards. The agreement will be updated once more and given to the city to share with Valley Design. Mohs stated the agreement would be both parties committing to be transparent with each other. If no complications arise, a signed agreement could be possible in the near future.

One other item brought up for the wastewater treatment plant regarded a wastewater treatment plant operator. The Zumbro Falls operator reached out to Fountain with his information for the city to consider if it was interested in looking at finding a new operator and costs related to operation. It was shared the operator is willing to come down and see the plant.

Mohs related he has worked with the operator in the past and Fountain has come up in their conversations in the past. He stated the operator has his own company and is from central Minnesota. Though he did not know what all is in the operator’s resume, Mohs stated he has a lot of experience and Zumbro Falls is extremely happy with his services.

Schott stated he thought it is a good idea to have someone come down and look at the plant, but it is most important to make sure the plant stays within compliance and the city watch the budget.

Mohs said he would give the operator the background on Fountain’s plant.

Police report

The council received a review of 2018. In the past year, the Preston Police Department received 223 service calls, whether self-calls or through dispatch. The department bought a new truck, updated the main computers in the office and hired a new part-time officer.

Year designations

The council approved official designations for 2019 including official bank, newspaper, insurance agent, city engineer and city auditor. It also discussed city attorney, noting the city will have to look for a new one. The city currently has Luhmann Law in Preston as its attorney, but City Clerk Rhonda Flattum noted things have gotten quite busy there and she has gotten to a standstill to get things done with ordinances and other legal notices.

Flattum shared a lot of attorneys in the area are not really wanting to do both civil and prosecution cases, so she suggested the council look into having prosecutions done through the county. If this could be done, the city may have an easier time locating a city attorney. The council was open to researching the possibility.

For mayoral appointments this year, Terry Hanson will be the weed inspector, Dave Gudmundson would serve as mayor pro-tem and in city streets and park and recreation. Jim Schott and Chad Wangen will work on water and sewer and Ron Reisner will serve on the city streets.

Five members were approved for the planning and zoning committee, Darrin Cambern and John Hanson for 2019, Dale Eppen and Jim Schott to 2020 and Ron Reisner to 2021.

Fire department officials for 2019 are Jason Wright, fire chief; Chad Wangen, assistant fire chief; Ryan Aasum, second assistant, secretary, treasurer and Sean Dols, training officer.

Other business

The Council received a request from the Preston Area Community Foundation to host the annual foundation meeting at the Fountain Community Center. The council agreed to the request, and since the community has received help from the Foundation in the past, it agreed the Foundation could use the community center free of charge.

The Council discussed the contract for internet, fax and phone from Mediacom for the city hall building. The Council voted to remain with the same company it is currently using.

Finally, Schott informed the Council the 2019 Local Board of Appeal and Equalization meeting will be held at the courthouse from April 22 to 25 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.