At the May 3 meeting, the Fountain Council unanimously approved a 50-year lease of city-owned land to Harmony Telephone Company. The plot of land at 91 Pine Street is roughly 50 feet by 50 feet. A 10-foot by 20-foot “hut building” will be constructed to house the company’s fiber optic equipment.
City Clerk Mary Tjepkes contacted the cities of Wykoff, Lanesboro, and Preston before the meeting to discuss their contracts with the company if any, and compensation. Tjepkes noted Preston’s agreement includes free services for their municipal buildings. Fountain has just three municipal buildings: the city hall, the community center, and the wastewater treatment plant. With service at the community center, the city could end the “dead zone” issues users experience there. In addition, Public Works could utilize its laptop at the site for reporting and other needs at the plant.
There was concern that it may be a conflict of interest for the city to approve the lease if there is an agreement with other internet providers. Currently, the city uses MediaCom, but Frontier and HBC also have a presence there. Tjepkes insisted the city could bring in whoever it wished to.
The council approved the lease in exchange for a $300 per month fee, including services at the three city sites, contingent on checking any current leases or agreements.
Resident Gary Hahn, 329 Cedar Street, stated the speed bump nearest his house is causing issues with inclement weather draining rock into his yard. He said while he would have voted for the speed bumps initially, he does not favor them now. Hahn requested the city move the speed bump 30 feet to the south or place large stones to prevent rocks from being deposited in the yard.
After some discussion with Public Works Director John Hanson, the council determined that lime and rock had been added to one area by the resident and that Public Works had agreed to power sweep the area but that Hahn had planted something in the location. The site is also in the public right-of-way, not the resident’s yard.
The speedbumps were implemented seasonally after a council discussion in August 2020. Speeding and drivers using the residential road, marked as the official route on GPS mapping, as a shortcut between County 8 and County 11/Highway 52 had frustrated residents. The council at that time determined to space the three-speed bumps out along the length of Cedar Street. Each speedbump requires 40 holes drilled into the road surface, inserts installed, and then bolts in each to hold down the speedbumps.
The council considered three options: power sweeping the area, installing gabion stone, and moving the speed bump. Considerations included Public Works’ time, additional problems created by adding stone, and the precedent of moving speed bumps per resident requests. Ultimately, the council opted to forgo moving any and to try sweeping first.
In other news, the city addressed a billing issue with MMS Environmental. Per the current contract, the company includes all weekly sampling. However, recent sampling done after emptying tanks and spreading biosolids on agricultural fields resulted in three charges to the city. According to company representative Mike Morris, the agreement does not cover the state-required sampling of biosolids, which happens twice a year, for $1,100. As a result, the council directed Clerk Tjepkes to ask the company to detail the sampling specifically on bills to ensure clarity.
The public should be aware of upcoming Department of Natural Resources (DNR) improvements to the Root River Trail parking lot. It will be closed from 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 9, through the completion of work Wednesday, May 10. Signage and barricades will be present throughout the work.
The next regularly scheduled council meeting is Wednesday, June 7, at 7 p.m. at city hall. The public is encouraged to attend.