Fountain City Council halts project for bulk tank wastewater treatment plant

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The Fountain City Council met on Wednesday, Sept. 5, and decided to halt the project to install a bulk tank for chemicals at the wastewater treatment plant.

Engineer Matt Mohs from WSB Engineering informed the council installing a bulk tank into the plant building is not feasible since the tank itself would not fit. He also stated the budget the council had set aside for the project was around $3,800. However, though they were doing their best to keep the spending at a minimum, the engineers still needed to purchase things outside of the budget to make the project possible. To date, there had been about $1,300 spent outside the budget.

Additionally, if the bulk tank were still to be pursued, the slab may need to be reinforced concrete. Council Member Jim Schott also noted if there would be a bad batch of chemicals delivered, it is much easier to deal with a tote of 250 gallons versus 5,000.

With all these facts, several members recognized it would be hard to see any gain in continuing the project. With that, the council voted to discontinue it.

Mohs also informed a phosphorus management plan has been put together to support the statement in the pending agreement with Valley Design. The document will be sent to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for review and comments. Once returned, the agreement will go to Valley Design.

Community interest

Jackie Hryskta attended the meeting with a concern regarding her water bill. Her building with her fitness center also serves as her home. The building has one meter, but is being considered as two units because of the business and the residence. With the new rates, she saw her water bill increase from $53 to $158 per month.

She commented she has never gone over her usage and the toilets are the only stations used in the fitness center. She stated her business was just breaking even, as it only has a handful of clients, but with the increase in the rates, she will either need to pay to keep the center running or shut it down.

Hrystka asked the council to reconsider her “double bill” since it is such a tremendous hike. Though everyone in the community has been affected by higher rates, she believed she was the only one in her kind of a situation. Since she lives in the building, she is unable to raise rent like apartment owners.

Hrystka noted she does not want to close the center down, but she cannot afford the price.

The council understood her desire to not want to shut down the fitness center, however it also emphasized wanting to be fair to everyone. It will study the issue further before making a final decision.

City-wide cleanup

Hanson Waste Removal will be stationing three trucks in the parking lot behind City Hall for the city-wide cleanup, scheduled on Saturday, Sept. 29. The trucks will be available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. A note will be going out with the bills for what will be accepted for removal. Residents will have to pay $20 for appliances, and fluorescent bulbs cannot be taken. The city will pay for the rest of the disposal costs.

JMS Agronomics, Inc.

Jason Schwarz briefed the council on what is new at JMS Agronomics. He said not much has changed, though he did start chemicals in addition to seeds. He is taking his business out of his house, but the plan is to keep the business as is for now. He may build a shed or build onto the existing building either next year or a few years down the road. He has been painting the building currently. He will hire some springtime help for deliveries. There will be an open house sometime in mid-September.

Other business

Fountain Trail Days will be forming additional committees for the 150th anniversary. A meeting will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 12, at 7 p.m. at the city office.

The city has been trying to sell the folding chairs which had been in the community center, however after no takers, the plan is to either get rid of them or give them away to anyone who expresses interest.

Three bids were submitted for the city’s 2005 Chevy two-wheel drive pickup it has been looking to sell. The city approved selling the truck for the high bid, $800.

The city’s preliminary budget meeting date has been rescheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 26, at 7 p.m. The budget must be in before Sunday, Sept. 30.

At the last meeting, the council intended to look into putting the question regarding allowing chickens to be raised in the city limits on the ballot for the Nov. 6 election. The city was informed that, per state statute, the matter cannot be on the ballot. Hence, the question has returned to the council. The council will send the matter back to the zoning committee for it to discuss the feasibility of either amending the ordinance or sticking with the one the city already has in place. The committee’s recommendation will be brought back to the council at next month’s meeting and that will be the final decision. The date for the zoning committee meeting is not determined, but will be posted on the city’s Facebook page.