The Rushford Village Council has once again found itself accepting a council resignation and declaring a vacancy for the seat. Councilor Chad Rasmussen submitted written resignation prior to the November 19 meeting, effective immediately. There is one year remaining on his term.
Mayor Gordon Johnson suggested the council bypass a public request for interested persons and look at the applicants from when former Councilor Rich Smith resigned this past July.
When Smith was originally seated to the council, the city advertised for interested persons, asked for a letter of why they wanted to serve, and voted on filling the seat. Current Councilor Roger Knutson was appointed to the seat in September. Now, the city will look at the remaining applicants from July: former councilors, Todd Baker and Hamilton Peterson, who also sits on the city’s Planning and Zoning Board.
“We really don’t have time to go through one more round,” said Johnson. “I would like to see that we would fill the position so we have someone at our next meeting, to be sworn in.” The council in attendance, Mike Ebner and Knutson, opted to table the issue until Councilor Dennis Overland could be in attendance.
“Every council seat will be up for grabs next year,” added Johnson. It was noted by the council that Rasmussen had served the city well with many strengths brought to the table. “Chad has done an outstanding job, with all the irons in the fire, to serve. I’m disappointed he left, but I understand.
“Knowing the full plate he has, I understand where he’s coming from,” added Ebner.
In other news, City Engineer Derek Olinger, of Bolton & Menk, was in attendance to discuss a review and project option estimates for the Village Road bridge and road surface. The existing steel beam bridge has seen deterioration and was marked by the county for problems. Two options currently exist for the bridge portion; replace the bridge with double or triple box culvert at an estimated cost of $300,000-400,000 or closing the bridge entirely, estimated at $75,000 or less by Olinger.
He noted replacement with culverts as the most economical from maintenance standpoint. Should the city opt to close the bridge, work, such as removing the abutments and surfacing and adding rock on both sides, will need to be done to eliminate liabilities. The timeline for problem resolution is within five years.
As for the road surface, Aspen and Village Road, including part of the road that extends into Yucatan Township, would need milling and overlay of asphalt. That estimate was $426,000 and was split into the Rushford Village portion and the Yucatan portion, should the township not want to resurface it. The section of Aspen Road that serves a new subdivision would need to remain hard surface either way. It’s possible the city could save on mobilization costs if it can get work bid at the time the state is doing Highway 43 through south Rushford or Highway 30 in the City of Rushford.
Updates from Zoning Administrator Jon Pettit included a discussion and setting of the public hearing for a proposed MiEnergy solar array. At the Planning & Zoning meeting, prior to the council meeting, the board voted 3:1 in favor of recommending the city move forward with a hearing. Plans included one site on Village property, which would require a contract lease between MiEnergy and the city, and another site on MiEnergy property.
Should the project move beyond the hearing, Johnson noted the details on how it would be laid out would remain up for negotiation The hearing addresses land use only. Should it move forward, the array is expected to be a total of one megawatt in size and would require sizeable space as a tracking unit, positioned at 66 degrees east/west in the morning and afternoon, and flat at noon. This type of unit has 17-18% greater efficiency, according to Johnson.
Bolton & Menk will review the proposal for any red flags on storm water runoff and City Attorney Tom Manion will review it as well. The hearing was set for December 17.
Public Works Supervisor Travis Scheck discussed replacement of the city pumps. The city is hoping to increase the pumps from five horsepower to a capacity of 10. Doing so would require an upgrade to electrical panels, however, it’s been noted that the panels might be rather pricey. There was a suggestion to order the pumps, but Knutson cautioned the council to consider waiting. “You might be shocked at the controls cost,” he said.
The city will wait to order the pumps until it receives a quote from NES (Norman’s Electrical Service). Only one quote will be sought for the work.
The next regularly scheduled council meeting is Tuesday, December 3, at 7 p.m. Other upcoming public meetings include a Truth-in-Taxation meeting Tuesday, December 17, at 6:30 p.m. and a hearing on a MiEnergy solar array project December 17, at 7:15 p.m. All meetings will be at the Village Hall. The public is encouraged to attend.