At the February 1 meeting, the Fountain council discussed the need for a new engineer, particularly the city’s wastewater treatment plant. The city hired Widseth Smith Nolting for engineering services, beginning in 2019, with Craig Britton serving as city engineer. Work includes the wastewater treatment plant, streets, zoning projects, comprehensive plan, and mapping.
Before that, the city utilized WSB & Associates as city engineer, but did not have a term contract with them. The city also considered a proposal for engineering from Bolton & Menk prior to hiring WSB & Associates.
“We haven’t heard anything from Craig Britton,” said City Clerk Mary Tjekpes. “We’ve called several times and never got a response . It was brought up in December that maybe we should look for a new city engineer.”
After talking with the City of Wykoff, which operates a similar type and size wastewater treatment plant, Tjepkes suggested consideration of AE2S Environmental Services.
“These guys are experts in wastewater treatment plants. They’re excellent. This is what we need,” she stated. “They’re really recommended for small towns for wastewater and city streets and such.”
Personally recommended was Kelly James, whom Tjepkes further cited as “very, very knowledgeable.”
“He knows wastewater,” added Public Works Director John Hanson. “He’s licensed as a wastewater operator himself.”
Councilor Colleen Foehrenbacher suggested the city review engineering contracts on a yearly basis. Tjepkes will contact James and invite him to attend the March council meeting for more information.
In other news, the council completed various committee assignments and designations during regular business. New Councilor Jordan Kerns volunteered, and was appointed to serve on the Zoning Board. The board meets as needed to discuss issues related to the various zones within a city to ensure they’re meeting existing city ordinances. Following discussion, they recommend the city council deny or approve items.
The mayor and council members were assigned to various committees for the year. These include new Mayor Tammy Danielson serving on Streets and Park and Recreation, Councilor Dave Gudmundson serving on Park and Recreation, and Kerns on Water/Sewer. New Councilor Cory Sprattle will serve on the committee overseeing nuisance issues such as noxious weeds, lawn upkeep, rubbish, and vehicles and Streets. Foehrenbacher will serve on the committee for Water/Sewer.
Danielson asked the status of each of the various committees and suggested the council determine the regulations related to each of their committees. Additionally, she urged the city to add a hyperlink on the website connecting it to city ordinances provided in the League of Minnesota Cities’ Minnesota Basic Code.
Foehrenbacher questioned how often committees meet and who is the lead at each. “It might be a great idea to put together a list of what is required of these groups,” she noted.
Danielson agreed. “What’s the goal? Are we following ordinances or our own guidelines within the City of Fountain?”
Danielson also sought clarification on procedures for emergency purchases for the fire department. Per policy, the council must call a special meeting, with a minimum three council members present, to consider and approve purchases over a specific amount. Further determination of what constitutes a high dollar purchase will be determined. The department recently needed a $46,000 piece of equipment after the current equipment began failing.
“If we’d had a fire, it would have been unsafe,” noted Kerns, who also serves on the department.
Relay for Life Coordinator Megan Kennedy attended the meeting and spoke to the need for a 2023 Fillmore County event chairperson. Foehrenbacher served as 2022 chairperson but cannot this year due to time limitations.
The majority of event details will stay the same this year. Several on the committee served as chairperson previously when the event was in their city. “We just need a ringleader… someone looking for a leadership role. The basics are done and it’s a very passionate, hard-working committee,” said Kennedy.
The event is Friday, July 28. The projected time commitment of those on the committee is an hour or less each month, with the chairperson serving and additional 5-6 hours per month. “It really ramps up the week before. Then it’s go, go, go for 24 hours and then, you’re done. It should be way easier this year,” noted Foehrenbacher.
Interested persons from the City of Fountain should contact Kennedy at email@example.com or (800) 227-2345.
The council approved two additional agenda items, including a donation to the Fillmore Central Prom for $100 and a reimbursement to Mayor Danielson for costs related to an upcoming MN Cities Newly Elected Officials meeting for just over $474.
The next regularly scheduled meeting is Wednesday, March 1, at 7 p.m. at city hall. The public is encouraged to attend.