On September 4, prior to the regular Ostrander City Council meeting, a public information meeting was held to inform the public about Phase two of the city’s infrastructure project. Bryan Holtz of Bolton & Menk covered the project timelines, funding and scope. Members in attendance were Vernon Thompson, Pam Kunert, Mayor Pat Nesler, City Clerk Wendy Brincks, and DJ Start. Heidi Jones was absent. Besides department heads, approximately 10 citizens were in the audience during the meeting. John DeGeorge addressed the council and the audience regarding his candidacy for Fillmore County Sheriff. He summarized his background and experience in law enforcement, and handed out flyers.
Next, Meagan Cole shared with the council regarding the tap water problem at her home, on Robert Street. She said for a long time, she’s had “rotten smelling water” and that it permanently stains her laundry. She brought in a bottle of her tap water for the council to view and smell. Mayor Nesler asked if anything has been done about flushing the city’s water lines, and Wendy Brincks said she’s not aware of any flushing that has occurred recently, but will check.
Brincks gave an update on the wastewater treatment plant operations, including some current issues causing the two wells to be shut off alternatively so repairs can be made.
Jeff Tart consulted with the council on several of the city maintenance issues and equipment needs.
Fire Chief Dustin Johnson informed the council of the crew’s ongoing search for a used fire truck, saying, “We looked at one in Rochester. It’s still in service, it’s a really nice truck.” He explained that the truck would cost $30,000 but some additional equipment would be needed. He said Ostrander could purchase the truck anytime between now and April. No action was taken at this time. Johnson also asked about purchasing a water heater for the fire station, and this was approved.
Brincks read the written report from Deputy Leif Erickson, which showed 18 calls in August, including four ambulance calls and three noise complaints.
The council discussed the O’Connell Excavating bill for $79.56 for repairing a ball valve on water service at 401 Minnesota Street. This had been discussed initially at the August meeting. After discussion, the council voted to pay the bill.
Brincks informed the council that Pamela Whitmore (from the League of Minnesota Cities) will give a presentation and answer questions in a special council meeting, open to the public, on October 9 at 6 p.m. Brincks said that Whitmore expects the meeting may last two to three hours.
Brincks gave a summary of the preliminary budget for next year, and noted that water rates will increase 4% and sewer rates will increase 2%. She asked if the council wished to set up a special meeting to dig deeper into the budget, but the council voted to approve the preliminary budget now, and can consider changes as they become necessary.
The council approved paying the $337,484.72 bill from A-1 Excavating, and the $100,689.08 bill from Wapasha Construction. After Brian Holtz gave an explanation, the council also gave approval for a Change Order of nearly $65,000 for A-1 Excavating.
The next regular meeting of the city council will be October 2 at 6:30 p.m. Due to a conflict with Election Day, the council chose to change the date of the November meeting to Thursday, November 8 at 6:30 p.m. The public is welcome.