Fountain City Council considers options for resolving culvert issue on Cedar

By: 
Bretta Grabau

The Fountain City Council considered options for resolving an issue in regard to the culvert on Cedar Street, which is creating a headache for a property owner. The problem, which had been discussed at previous meetings, was once again addressed as the council met last Tuesday, June 4.

The problem is water backs up and down the driveway of the property owner, inhibiting him from fixing his driveway. Since he wants to make improvements, he came to the council asking the city to deal with the water issue before he proceeds. Matt Mohs from WSB presented the options to the council.

The first option rested with installing a manhole over the existing culvert and connecting to the proposed culvert making one outlet, constructing a concrete driveway apron five feet deep and installing a catch basin to collect water and route it through the piping. It would also include installing a curb and the apron would eliminate the gravel erosion when water flows over the driveway. However, this option estimate, with a contingency, came to $22,000.

The second option included grading a ditch instead of constructing a curb and installing a culvert under the driveway to convey the run-off and not include any utilities. This estimate came to $10,500. He realized the council would want to make the most feasible, cost effective decision for the town. He advised if the city chose the second option, or somewhere between the first and second options, depending on the project, the city could possibly use a contractor with a good eye for the project without bringing in an engineer.

During the discussion, it was emphasized the property owner staunchly desires to be able to mow the area.

Councilor Ron Reisner stated there would need to be a heavy base grass there to withstand the elements it will most certainly encounter.

Mayor Jim Schott noted there would need to be some research completed to find if there is an easement related to that area.

Additionally, this project would provide materials that could resolve another issue nearby, sinkholes. The dirt excavated from the culvert could be poured into the sinkholes with a little less effort and expense to the city. The council will continue to discuss the issue at a future meeting.

Zoning

The council approved a resolution to rezone 2.07 acres of land on County 11 for Simon and Mary Hershberger who are looking to build a shed there. The land will be rezoned from a conservation district to industrial.

City Clerk Rhonda Flattum noted WSB will be going over the city’s comprehensive land use plan and mapping for planning and zoning. There will be a meeting later in June with the commission.

The council approved a resolution calling for a public meeting before the council on July 11 to consider vacating 14 feet of Cedar Street. This would mean moving lot lines as currently the right of way goes right through buildings.

Robert and Betty Simon have been working on building a new 16-by-16-foot shed on their property to replace the utility shed on skids. The council approved the project.

Other business

Mohs updated the council on the status of the wastewater treatment plant usage agreement with Valley Design. A few small changes had been made in the agreement after a meeting with a representative from Valley Design. The main change was to modify flows going through the plant. After those changes had been made, the MPCA reviewed the agreement once again. It made one comment on what the city plans to do if the business would exceed its limit. Mohs believed the agreement was ready to send to Valley Design and the council agreed.

The city siren has been broken for several months. It is temporarily fixed, and the council did ask for options for what to do. The siren is old and not hooked up to the Sheriff’s office. If it were to be connected, the cost would be around $9,700. The other option was to put an antenna on top of the pole with a performance motor for $4,663. This option would require someone to come and push the button to sound the alarm, however. The council decided since it is temporarily fixed and the city does not have any money budgeted for the fix, it would be left until the budget meeting.

The council approved a resolution supporting the fire department’s gun raffle, a temporary on-sale liquor license for the fire department on July 27 and a parking lot lease agreement for the 150th celebration.

Mayor Schott brought up some lawn concerns from a resident who wanted the city to do something when the septic pumping truck left behind tracks. City maintenance worker John Hanson went over to level off the area.

There have been more complaints regarding speeding on Cedar Street. The council also noted there should be a stop sign put up next to the alley near Councilor Dave Gudmundson’s property.

Citywide cleanup resulted in more than 3,000 pounds of refuse, particularly tires, but it was noted the cleanup was not worth what the city paid.

Fountain was also advised to come up with some type of management plan for emergency weather conditions, where the residents should go in the event of severe weather similar to what rolled through on Memorial Day this year.

The council approved a tree trimming quote for $100 per hour whenever the city needs trimming.

Mayor Schott also informed the council of a lawsuit settled in favor of Minnesota Energy Resources Corp for receiving tax court refunds. According to MERC, the city of Fountain has to pay back $5,036 as a result of the lawsuit.