The Fountain Council approved the preliminary tax levy for 2023 at the September 7 meeting. While the final levy can ultimately be less than the amount approved, it cannot be higher. The final levy will be approved in December. The total preliminary levy was $231,142. The represents $123,142 for general tax levy, $65,000 for the sewer fund $35,000 for Capital Improvement, and $8,000 for the equipment fund.
City Clerk Mary Tjepkes notified the council the city received a proposal from MMS Environmental regarding changes to the contract. The current contract expires in February of next year. The city utilizes the firm to assist with the wastewater treatment plant, filling gaps in its licensing abilities. Tjepkes noted it will be another three years before Public Works Director John Hanson can obtain the Class B license.
Due to the work that Hanson is doing at the plant, MMS Environmental believes it can reduce their duties at the plant, providing cost savings for the city. “John is doing a really good job. He’s doing so much more,” she noted. The council tabled the discussion until nearer to the time for contract renewal.
Councilor Dave Gudmundson questioned some of the recent expenses at the plant, noting “extraordinary expenses.” Mayor Jim Schott pointed out that the instances were unavoidable.
“We’re probably going to need to start replacing things on that soon,” added Councilor Terry Hanson. Tjepkes noted moisture in the building wears on parts faster than normal.
The council also discussed grass clippings from mowing being blown onto the streets. “It seems to be getting a lot more places. It’s a state law, not town law,” stressed Councilor Ron Reisner.
“If someone has an accident you are liable and that’s a state statute,” echoed Schott. The city will put a reminder for citizens on the upcoming water bill.
Brian Ostby addressed the council regarding rock washing from near the Seed First building at the corner of Second and Cedar Streets. While there were questions of the need for drain tile in the area, the city will first work on peeling back the areas that are high in order to divert water runoff into a ditch and then the culvert. The issue is happening on both the east and west side of the building, taking gravel across the roadway for approximately 50-60 feet.
Reisner estimates he will need to cut 12-18 inches back on the area, which are city property. “Heading straight east, it’ll form its own channel then,” he noted. He further suggested bringing in 4-inch gabion stone to hold the areas. Schott questioned what type of erosion will be in the new trenched area in a year, but Reisner noted the shallow grade, with rock underneath, so erosion should be minimal.
In other news, the council opted to do away with aluminum can collection. “It seems to be a problem month after month after month,” said Schott. Cans are blowing into properties adjacent and the return on recycled aluminum is at a significant low.
“Eliminate it. It’s not making a dime,” added Reisner. “It didn’t even pay for the fuel in the truck last time.”
The election ballot for the November 8 election is available for viewing and shows some changes for the City of Fountain. After more than 30 years on the council, current Mayor Schott is not running for reelection. Instead, Councilor Ron Reisner and Tammy L. Danielson are challenging for the seat. Council member options on the ballot include Cory Sprattle and Jordan Kerns.
The next regularly scheduled council meeting is Wednesday, October 5, at 7 p.m., at city hall. The public is encouraged to attend.
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