Rushford City Council hears public works project list

By : 
Scott Bestul
Tri-County Record

Despite yet another impending snowstorm, the Rushford City Council was in full attendance for their Monday, Feb. 11 meeting. Among other items, the council reviewed a list of projects from Public Works Director Roger Knutson and heard a summary of City Administrator Tony Chladek’s visit to the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities (CGMC) meeting. 

Upcoming city projects 

Public Works Director Roger Knutson addressed the council with a power point presentation outlining projects he hopes his department hopes to handle in the coming months. “We keep an ongoing list that we try to get to every year, but a lot of it is dictated by weather and other things that arise,” Knutson said. “We are trying to work them around the normal things we do, like mowing, pool maintenance, and other projects.” Among the items on Knutson’s list were:

• Knutson noted that the FAA conducts inspections that encompass buildings, runways, and grounds at the Rushford Municipal Airport every five years. Often those inspections result in a requirement to remove trees from properties adjacent to the airport, and city workers do that removal themselves. “We work with adjoining landowners, even though such projects are included in the agreements they signed when they purchased the property,” Knutson said. Other airport areas that need attention are a waterway and a ponding area.

• Knutson anticipates city crews working on Lamplighters Lane and Grove Street as they undergo improvements. Though municipal workers will not assist in repaving, they will likely help remove the old road surface and prepare the roadbeds.

• City crews will address problems with an outdated storm drain on Maple Street. The outgoing pipe has draining issues and though city workers have worked on this drain in the past, it will likely require further repair or replacement.

• The recent purchase of property by Leigh Volkman adjacent to city property will require some reconfiguring and reconstruction of the nearby access road.

• Knutson noted poor draining in a waterway located behind the Kwik Trip store. “There’s usually a big backup of water during any large rain event there,” he said. “We’ll bring in our track hoe and clean that area out and do some straightening of the waterway to help it drain better.”

• The city’s larger track hoe requires more maintenance and upkeep, and Knutson reported his crew will be dismantling and inspecting the machine to find hoses, belts and other parts that need replacing.

• Knutson said that the city’s grapple machine, which was used in much of their work to remove ash trees, will also be inspected and necessary repairs and upkeep will be done.

• The bike trail near the new school has some draining and pooling problems during large rain events, and Knutson said city crews will likely install a culvert in this area to reduce flooding on the trail.

• The League of Minnesota Cities (LOMC) has suggested that walkways to pavilions and bathrooms in city parks should be paved or improved to assist in disabled access.

• Knutson noted the condition of the tennis courts in Creekside Park is poor and deteriorating. Discussion followed about public use of the courts, and whether they should be repaired, or perhaps replaced with a pickleball court. No formal decisions were made on this matter.

• Though city crews have improved access to fuel tanks at the Rushford Airport, Knutson said they could benefit from even more work.

• The final project on Knutson’s list was maintenance and repair work on a water return unit at the municipal swimming pool.

Council members thanked Knutson for the report and the many projects he and city workers have completed.

CGMC Legislative Action Day

City Administrator Tony Chladek reported that he’d attended the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities (CGMC) 2019 Legislative Action Day. Chladek met with state representatives and listened to Governor Tim Walz address members at the event. Chladek noted the proposals and priorities of CGMC for the upcoming year are:

• Support an increase in LGA (Local Government Aid) funding to $30.5 million, which would restore LGA dollars to their high-water mark of 2002. LGA funds have since failed to keep pace with inflation.

• Increased investment in state infrastructure, which includes $128 million for clean water infrastructure grant/loan programs, and $20 million for Greater MN Business Development Public Infrastructure to promote job grow in outstate MN.

• Increased funding for transportation that would include $200 million annually for the Corridors of Commerce program and $50 million annually for city streets of all sizes.

• Address child care shortage in in greater Minnesota. This would include $10 million for Child Care Capital Grant Program, $3 million for grants to Minnesota Initiative Foundation for child care business development, and support for a collaborative regulatory system that supports providers.

Other business

Library board member Jim O’Donnell reported that the board will be interviewing two candidates on February 16 for the position of library director. Three applicants were extended invitations for interviews, but one had declined due to relocation issues.

The Rushford Peterson Valley Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual meeting Wednesday, Feb. 20, at Stumpy’s Restaurant. The chamber will welcome a new member and listen to keynote speaker, newly-elected Fillmore County Sheriff John DeGeorge.

Schedule

The next meeting of the Rushford City Council will be held Monday, Feb. 25 at 6:30 p.m. All members of the public are encouraged to attend.