Tim Schoonhoven, Widseth engineer, encouraged the Chatfield City Council to manage the city’s street infrastructure in the most sustainable way at the council’s October 27 meeting.
Craig Britton, city engineer, and Brian Burkholder drove all the city-owned streets (about 18 miles or 73% of the streets within the city limits) and alleys (two plus miles) in Chatfield and rated their condition on a scale of one to five (one being good condition and five being the worst). With this comprehensive survey the cost of improving and maintaining the streets was also considered. The most cost effective plan is to prioritize the maintenance of the approximately 12 miles of one and two rated streets to extend their life.
Schoonhoven suggested the city should budget about $200,000 per year to fund the sustainable value in the streets. Part of the city’s role is to be the caretaker of its infrastructure. Overlays on two-and three-rated streets will add structure to the streets and extend their life.
Streets rated as a four need to be patched (a maximum of 20% of their area), then milled and paved over. Streets rated as a five require a full base replacement and are usually worked on when underlying utility replacement work is required. Less than three miles of the city’s streets are rated four or five.
Schoonhoven advocated for the city to work on the two and three rated streets first to extend their life while the improvements can be done more economically. This would involve about seven miles of street and cost roughly $2 million. He noted the 2.75 miles of streets rated four or five would cost nearly $1.6 million to improve.
Schoonhoven insisted funding infrastructure adequately is the way to be fiscally responsible. He encouraged the council to set up a budget for streets in a sustainable way, by trying to build it up until there is a sustainable number. A five-year capital improvement plan should be developed, taking into consideration underlying utility work that will be needed. He added that it may be necessary to bond for streets that need reconstruction with underlying utility work.
2020 Bonding bill
The Minnesota Legislature passed a bonding bill on October 15, which includes $8,700,000 for the Chatfield Center for the Arts. The money will provide for the construction of an infill lobby addition between the 1916 school building and the 1936 auditorium. Grant funds will also be used to rehabilitate the 1916 building to house auditorium support functions, to provide additional office space and common areas, and to restore the original gymnasium. The EDA Advisory Committee is working to provide recommendations to the EDA for the selection of a design team.
Other business in brief
• The October report on expenditures using the CARES Act funds was approved as presented. The total to be expended is $98,946.32. Expenditures include improvements to telework capabilities for employees, a LUCAS device for the ambulance service, $40,000 in grants to small businesses and $2,708.44 to the EDA for interest costs, and a police radio upgrade. Roughly $28,000 more funds will likely be expended in November, but those expenses were not approved this day. All funds must be expended by November 15.
Chris Giesen, EDA, explained that there were 25 applicants for small business grants. Twenty-three applicants will receive $1,644 each. The other two applicants requested less; together they will get a total of $2,182. The list of specific businesses and the specific amount they will receive was approved.
• A list of fire department officers for 2021 was approved: Chief Luke Thieke, 1st Assistant Chief Peter Erickson, 2nd Assistant Chief Cole Mckean, Training Officer Chris Musty, Safety Officer Steve Schmiedeberg, Captain Jason Baldner, and Captain Jill Harstad.
• The street-scaping proposal from Chatfield Alliance for fall and winter was approved. Corn stalks and pumpkins will be part of the fall plan and white LED lights in city park, garland wraps with lights on metal light poles and red ribbons and bows will be part of the winter plan.
• Approval was given for an upgrade in pay for the deputy city clerk to a grade 8 position as recommended by the Personnel/Budget Committee.
• The Personnel/Budget Committee has recommended the city submit an application to the International City/County Managers’ Association (ICMA) for the city to be listed in the directory of the ICMA recognized governments. There is no cost to the city. This recognition may benefit the city in the future when searching for lead staff. The recommendation was approved as presented.
• A quote from Paveman Designs in the amount of $5,999.50 was approved to epoxy fire department meeting room floors, replacing the stained carpet.
• Through a grant from Fillmore County, a free radar sign has been received, which will likely be placed along Highway 52 at the south end of town at the 30 mph sign.
• Prior to the regular city council meeting, Mike Bubany gave a presentation on Capital Improvement Finance Program planning for the future at the Committee of the Whole. There was also more discussion on the 2021 budget/levy. The final 2021 budget/levy will be considered in December.
• The quarterly financial report for the third quarter of 2020 prepared by Kay Coe was accepted.
• Councilor Josh Broadwater described a plan from local business people to make Halloween still happen. The COVID-friendly celebration will be in Mill Creek Park. No city services are requested. A motion to allow for the use of Mill Creek Park for the event was approved. Broadwater said community members are making the effort to put on the event for the kids.