After more than a year of discussion, the Rushford Village council unanimously approved the installation estimates for its new water meters. The council approved the purchase of 105 meters from Metron-Farnier in December.
Two bids were received. The bid from VIS Plumbing & Heating, of Lanesboro, came in at $13,650, and STS Plumbing & Heating, of Mabel, was $19,789. The proposals were nearly identical, with both calling for bronze quarter turn shut-offs, but there was a discrepancy in the pipe size from ¾-inch to one inch.
“It makes a little difference,” said Councilor Mike Ebner, “But no difference in performance.”
“Or on compatibility,” added Mayor Dennis Overland.
Miner noted that commercial lines are one-inch while residential meters are ⅝-inch.
Councilor Bob Hart suggested the village determine the reason for the difference. “If there’s a significant difference in performance for the customer, I’d like to know,” he noted.
“I still think it’s going to be lower, but I can follow up a little more,” said Ebner.
The council approved VIS for the installation, contingent on them remaining the low bidder after confirming details about the pipe sizing. Meters arrive on March 1. Then, working with a licensed electrician, Public Works will install them after the annual readings in April.
Also nearing a year of work, the City of Rushford Village Employee Guide update is nearly complete. The city contracted with Public Sector Human Resources Consultant Paul Ness. He will review the document after the last batch of changes. When completed, the Personnel Committee will recommend it to the council for final approval.
One of the updates relates to personal time accrual for city employees. Previously, employees had received 96 hours of paid personal time, including 72 hours of federal holiday time and 24 hours of sick pay. Now, employees will accrue up to eight hours per month of sick pay. In addition, Juneteenth is an additional paid holiday this year.
“It would accrue on a monthly basis, and each year you’d know where you stand,” said Hart, one of two councilors on the committee.
“A jump from three days a year to 12 days a year? Twenty-four hours to 96 hours a year?” asked Overland.
Furthermore, an impending governmental change will require the city to provide one hour of personal/sick time for every 30 hours worked. It was unclear whether it was a state or federal mandate, but the aim is to provide family leave, according to Miner.
The last discussion item was the annual and monthly Community Economic Development Associates (CEDA) report. Some expressed needing clarification about the wording of the report. Both Councilors Ebner and Hart asked about the authority given to Charles on the village’s behalf.
Miner clarified that while CEDA representative Rebecca Charles does not have the authority to make arrangements or plans on the city’s behalf, she was authorized to share certain information with groups and for projects that might fit well with city plans.
“I don’t like it putting the comprehensive plan on hold,” said Ebner. Charles put the plan update on hold while conducting a trail study in 2022.
“I’m worried about things being written,” said Hart. “It sounds like the council is approving things when it’s just a study taking place.”
“She’s a liaison for any groups wanting information out of the trail study or a business coming in. She can look into what we might help with but has no permission to do anything,” clarified Miner.
The council also approved the last commercial flood loan reimbursement. Featherstone Farms paid off its loan in 2022. Per details of the loan program, the company receives reimbursement of 6% of the principal paid. In this instance, it amounts to a payment of $12,952.
The next regularly scheduled council meeting is March 7, at 7 p.m. at the Village Hall. The public is encouraged to attend.