Rushford Village considers solar arrays, discusses road and sewer issues

By: 
Scott Bestul

In a rather brief meeting on Oct. 15, the Rushford Village City Council set up public hearings on a pair of permits for solar arrays, then turned its attention to an ongoing concern about a bridge crossing. The council also pondered how to address repeated problems with materials causing difficulties at the lift station.

Solar arrays

Prior to the council meeting, the Planning and Zoning Committee met and considered applications for solar arrays by Alva Emerson and Roger Heimgartner. The Emerson application was for a 13.6kw ground-mounted unit. The Heimgartner application was for a 12.4 kw DC ground mounted unit. The committee brought a favorable recommendation for both units to the council, and sought a public hearing for both to occur, prior to the Nov. 5 council meeting. The council approved the public hearing dates.

Planning/Zoning Administrator Jon Pettit reported that MiEnergy Cooperative, which has contacted the council regarding a possible solar array on three acres of land owned by the village, had not submitted a permit application for the array. No action was taken.

Roads/Water/Sewer

Bolton & Menk engineer Derek Olinger reported that Generation X Construction had completed the work at Benson Lane requested by the council.

“The repairs are finished and everything looks good,” Olinger said. “They are reshaping the ditches and reseeding for erosion control.”

Olinger noted that 75 percent of the $22,485 bill will be reimbursed to the village, resulting in a final payment of $8,160.

The council moved to approve the payment of $22,485 to Generation X Construction.

Public Works director Travis Scheck noted that he was experiencing ongoing problems with clogging of the pumps at the lift station.

Mayor Gordon Johnson suggested replacing the pumps with grinder pumps might be an option, which prompted Councilor Roger Knutson to ask if a bar screen was being used to prevent clogging.

“We have them at the (City of Rushford) and it helps, but we have to go in there and rake them every day...and I mean every day,” he said. After some discussion, Knutson noted “it would be nice to have a recommendation on the best models to use. And if we upgrade, we should hold on to the old models. If something breaks down, it can be two-three weeks or more to repair them, and it’s good to have a backup system.”

Discussion was held regarding the bridge crossing at Village Road, and whether it would be wise to close that crossing. Mayor Johnson noted that, “if the bridge went away, we’d at least want to maintain it to some degree. But if we closed it, responsibility would be turned over to Tyler Eide, the adjacent landowner.” The council discussed the options regarding closing the bridge and its repercussions.

Olinger said he’d examine the issue and bring a report to the next meeting for the council’s consideration.

Other business   

Rebecca Charles of Community and Economic Development Association (CEDA) reported that she would be contacting Jim Miller of Ferndale Golf Course, to see how the club had done in the past year and its plans for the future. Charles also said she was actively contacting village residents who might be contemplating the sale and/or development of their land in the future.