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Rushford Village looks to projects

By Kirsten Zoellner

Fri, Mar 21st, 2014
Posted in Rushford Village Government

In a surprisingly short meeting, March 18, the Rushford Village Council covered details of sizeable amount of projects slated for the 2014 summer season with Public Works Director Bob Thieret. Citing nearly 50 items on the list, the number of workable hours for the recently added second public works position was at the center. The city had budgeted $15,700 or 887 hours for the position, currently held by Evan Meier. To date, $13,144 or 661 hours remain after a heavy start to the workload with additional seasonal plowing.

The funds have been set aside for the entire year, but Thieret is seeking to make the position 30 hours a week in an effort to reduce the project schedule. Under that scenario, the budget will allow for just over 22 weeks of work. However, the city requested that at least a week of that be set aside for late 2014 plowing needs, leaving 21 weeks.

The projects include road and shoulder repair or widening, culvert repair or debris removal, fire hydrant repair and flushing, signage upgrades, meter reading, seeding, and brush clearing. Thieret intends to look into rental of equipment for major roadside brush clearing in an effort to save costs. In 2013, the work was done by Norby Tree Service. However, the workload, which Thieret has scheduled for 84 days this summer, may prove too much. Work by the second public works employee is subject to benefits if over 1,000 hours worked or a specific dollar threshold.

In in a related topic, the city approached Thieret with suggestions for rural garbage and recycling pickup. At the last meeting, it was noted that the city is seeing an $18,000 increase annually in cost from services rendered by Harters Quick Clean Up Service. The company and city agreed to a contract under the new terms, but both acknowledged that the contract could be reviewed and potentially modified if cost savings can be found.

Considerations such as a hydraulic lift on a trailer or using the dump truck and loader were discussed, both which would see garbage and recycling brought to the Village Hall for collection by Harters. It’s estimated that there are 125-150 rural stops within the Village. The driving time of these stops, as opposed to loading time, were noted as the biggest expense, and led to the discussion of having the Village do their own pickups of the rural stops.

Councilor Todd Baker, however, noted that there may be little cost savings once the city has gone through the hoops of setting up Minnesota PCA-approved equipment and securing proper licensure, including hazardous waste. The city will continue to look at cost savings measures.

The next regularly scheduled meeting is Tuesday, April 1, at 7 p.m., at the Village Hall. The public is encouraged to attend.

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