"Where Fillmore County News Comes First"
Online Edition
Tuesday, December 6th, 2016
Volume ∞ Issue ∞

Rushford City Council Report: Rushford Council closer to resolving sewer/lift station problems

Fri, Oct 31st, 2003
Posted in Features

Monday night, October 27th, the Rushford City Council reconsidered the problem Paul and Luanne Dvorak had when the lift station malfunctioned and sent sewer water flooding their basement. At a previous meeting the council had offered to pay half of the depreciation value ($554 not paid by insurance). After considering new information showing that the Dvoraks ended up paying $594.50 the last time they had this problem, the council opted to offer full reimbursement this time. Paul Dvorak was hesitant to accept the offer, asking if unforeseen additional costs would be covered as well and adding that these were still just estimates. Dvorak had signed off on the insurance claim last time and then an additional bill had arrived, leaving the Dvoraks with no recourse but to pay it themselves.

The council agreed to keep the matter open. Council consensus was, “The council wants to do what’s right.” Councilman Norris Kinneberg added, “This is the second occurrence within two years; hopefully, this will be the last occurrence.”

In effort to ensure that it is indeed the last occurrence, the council checked with Jeff Copley, PWD, on the progress on the High Street Lift Station warning system. Copley informed the council the highest price was less than $3,000, a pleasant surprise when “guesstimates” had been for a $14,000 price tag. Copley reported that he had received calls from several companies wanting to help with the alarm system after the recent newspaper coverage of the issue. Emphasizing the goal of keeping the alarm as simple as possible, Copley described an alarm system that would dial a phone number once the water level reached a certain point, regardless of the cause. Since someone would have to physically go to the lift station anyway, that person could then assess the problem. The council gave Copley permission to proceed with the plan providing the cost was $3,000 or less for both lift stations.

An alarm system does little good, however, if there is no one to respond to it. The council next considered an on-call program for city personnel. The on-call would cost the city $5,200 per year. Employees would take turns being on-call for a week at a time, using an already city-owned cell phone. Although this is not in the budget currently (it had been cut due to LGA reductions), the council felt the city needed a better system for water/sewer/electrical problems.

City administrator Larry Bartelson commented, “I think this is something our customers deserve.”

Under this set-up, customers would call an on-call cell phone carried by city employees. With phone equipment already available at the sewer plant, phone lines need only be installed at the lift stations to implement the system. The council encouraged Copley to begin the on-call program as soon as the alarm system and phone lines at the lift stations are operational. Funding for the on-call will come from budgeted overtime allotments and possibly public works.

Water Rates

Mayor Pro-tem Ron Mierau (Mayor T.S. Roberton was excused) opened the public hearing on water rates. Paul Dvorak asked what would happen with the rates when the new meters were all installed. The council answered that each customer would still need to pay a base rate to cover the cost of the infrastructure with the cost per thousand gallons covering the actual water usage by each customer. At that point, customers would be paying for the amount of water they actually used. Dvorak also asked for an explanation of the emergency only usage of newly constructed well number four. Well number four has a questionable level of radium since the state made the acceptability requirements more stringent.

Following the public hearing, the council voted to raise the water rates to $10.80 base rate and $2.35 per thousand gallons for every thousand gallons over 12,000 effective November 1, 2003. Previously, the rate had been $9.10 base rate and $2.10 per thousand gallons for every thousand gallons over 18,000.

Other business

In other city business the council:

• learned the physical survey was nearly completed for the Jerusalem water loop and the city will soon know the footage for the project and will start digging;

• heard the gravel access path under the north end bridge is in place;

• agreed to cost share (50/50) the paving of the farmer’s Co-op Elevator parking lot, noting that cutting street congestion and having the parking lot available for public use served the public good. Dumpsters will be relocated from the city lot to the nearby bin area, snow removable will be easier, and drainage problems in the city lot have been corrected.

No Comments Yet. Be the first to comment!

Your comment submission is also an acknowledgement that this information may be reprinted in other formats such as the newspaper.