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Rushford City Council Report: Harry Street project finished

Fri, Dec 15th, 2006
Posted in Government

After noting Blitz Construction had finished with the water main and houses were to be connected in the coming week, the Rushford City Council discussed how to encourage citizens with private wells on Harry Street to hook-up to city water at their regular meeting December 11. Mayor Les Ladewig suggested offering a "lucrative one-time deal" to encourage residents to hook-up now. The water lines have been stubbed in to the curb; some residents have actually had the line installed to the wall of their homes in case their well fails in the future, but have not hooked up yet. Council member Nancy Benson, concerned about fairness, cautioned, "I don't think their offer should be more lucrative than what we offer to the people who were already hooked up."

The more people using city water, the better the water quality will be. In the future, it may be mandated that all houses hook-up to city water. The hook-up fee is currently $300; it is anticipated the fee will rise to $1,000 in the near future. The city started charging a $75 fee in 2000; before that time water hook-up entailed no charge. Council member Laura Deering suggested a 50/50 sharing of costs for the hook-ups. City attorney Terry Chiglo advised the city to offer a four percent loan to help homeowners with the expense of the paying a contractor to do the actual hook-up; he felt that was the stumbling block for some citizens. Chiglo pointed out that it would be difficult to sell homes with sandpoint wells, especially in light of the wellhead protection policy. The issue was tabled until the December 26 meeting. When asked if he was clear on his direction for researching the issue, City Administrator Windy Block quipped, "As clear as the water on Harry Street!"

The water lines in the affected Harry and Ferry Street areas now need to be flushed. City PWD Jeff Copley suggested rebating the residents for any water used beyond the minimum 3,000 gallon on their January bill to encourage them to flush out the system. Such a gesture would cost the city around $545 and provide better water for the all in the area. Council consensus was that it would be appropriate since the citizens have put up with the water issues for a long time.

Ambulance laptops and


Tabling seemed to be the theme of the evening as the council tabled a request from Ambulance Director Julie Ziebell for laptops and mapping software for the two ambulances. Ziebell presented a plan to have ProWest write an application to run on ArcView software to map addresses. Data would be provided by Fillmore, Winona, and Houston Counties at no charge for now. Software would need to be updated once a year at a cost of $700; total cost for Rushford Ambulance to do the project alone would be $9,590. If another service cooperated on the project, Rushford would pay $6,590; if two others joined it would cost $5,590 for Rushford. The issue was tabled pending more information. Ziebell will approach other services in the area (Lewiston ambulance has shown interest), check to make sure the source code is escrowed, and ask for a testing period to ensure the application works.

Exterior solid fuel burners

Rushford residents, don't even ask Santa for that new exterior woodburner or solid fuel burner this year because you won't be able to get a permit to install one! Concerned about health and safety issues, the Council passed a resolution to cease granting permits for the burners. The Council intends to look at creating an ordinance in the future to limit or possibly ban the burners.

Other business

In other business the council:

• granted a conditional use permit (CUP) for Jeff Copley's property at 807 N. Mill Street for his home-based business;

• adopted the $550,000 city budget for 2007;

• tabled the SEMDC contract to clarify the definition of a half day and hourly expense-Block's job description was changed last year to include more of the EDA duties; therefore the contract with SEMDC should be decreased from previous years;

• heard from Block of the kindness of Creamery owner Deb Kitchens, who not only didn't complain when a valve broke during the Harry Street project and her restaurant was waterless, but also invited construction workers in for a pizza lunch on the house!

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