At the Wednesday, August 7 meeting, the Fountain City Council approved rescinding a decision made at the July meeting to utilize a PointWatch system as of August 1. The system, a remote monitoring system, is provided by MMS Environmental isn’t yet installed and running at the wastewater treatment plant. Instead, the council made a new motion to move forward with PointWatch.
The council also approved entering into a three-year agreement with MMS Environmental. “They told me it was going good,” said Mayor Jim Schott in reference to the new company being at the reins of the city’s plant. After the plant was deemed non-compliant in 2016, the city struggled to regain compliance, finally finding success with PeopleService. However, ongoing frustrations regarding chemicals and costs at the plant eventually led the council to consider a new wastewater management agreement.
A motion was made to proceed with the contract. Schott noted that until the PointWatch system is in place, MMS Environmental will rely on three weekly visits. “I just want to make sure everyone is on the same page on that,” cautioned Schott. Once the system is a go, on-site monitoring drop to just twice a week. The city can alter the contract to increase the number of weekly on-site visits should it be necessary.
The MMS proposal included option one, in-person monitoring three times a week at a cost of $5,100 per month, an annual $61,200, while option two opts for usage of PointWatch remote monitoring, twice a month, at a cost of $4,850 per month, an annual total of $58,200. The City of Fountain would be responsible for the cost of all chemicals, pumps, repair and service to pumps, pumping/cleaning of lift stations, and repairs to the plant.
“I hope it keeps everything going like it’s supposed to be and no one gets fines,” stressed Councilor Ron Reisner.
“I hope, or we’re back to square one,” added Councilor Dave Gudmundson.
In other news, after discussions with City Attorney Frederick Suhler, the city is making plans to address its municipal parking lot to accommodate bus pick ups for those commuting to Rocherster via Rochester City Lines. This was the result of a citizen complaint to the city regarding vehicles weighing more than five tons using the street. “Under the provisions of the existing ordinance, any operation of a vehicle which weighs in excess of five tons is unlawful,” wrote Suhler in an email to the city.
Two options for handling the situation were discussed. In the first, the council would authorize removal of the signs. Suhler maintained that enforcement of the limitation requires that the signs be present in order to enforce the ordinance. It was noted that using this option, a vehicle of any size could lawfully travel on the street. It was noted at the meeting that the sign was put in place due to traffic to the elevator, which is no longer in existence. It was further advised that this street is not a designated truck route. Clerk Rhonda Flattum suggested the city may want to review its truck routes.
“Take all truck routes out,” said Schott, who was echoed by Councilor Chad Wagnen who suggested making the whole town a truck route. Councilor Ron Reisner also noted trucks don’t abide by signage and drive down streets anyway.
The second option is to add language to the ordinance exempting certain kinds of buses from the weight limitation. Suhler noted this approach is used in the provisions of State law (s169.87) creating a number of exceptions for different types of vehicle from weight restriction.
After discussion, it was determined the city would contact Suhler to amend the current ordinance. The council will review the item in September. Flattum noted that change in the ordinance would require a stepped process of notification, a public hearing, and finally approval of the updated ordinance.
The municipal lot will see some improvements as the city looks to address bus pick ups further. The council approved the addition of a 10-inch culvert in the ditch on the northeast corner of the lot and a concrete walking bridge over it for passengers to board the bus. Appropriate signage for the stop will also be put in place. It’s unclear at this point whether or not a bus shelter will be added.
A 2020 budget meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday, August 28 at 7 p.m.
The next regularly scheduled council meeting is Wednesday, September 4, at 7:30 p.m., at city hall. The public is encouraged to attend.