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Generator case closed - Rushford pays $25,000

Fri, Sep 1st, 2006
Posted in Government

RUSHFORD - City Attorney Terry Chiglo reported to the Rushford City Council the results of the August 18 mediation session with Ziegler at their regular council meeting Monday, August 28. Previously, the council had turned down a settlement of $90,000 offered by Ziegler attorneys August 4. After an all day session, the team of Chiglo, Mayor Les Ladewig, and City Administrator Windy Block came away with a proposed settlement of $40,000, of which the city will pay $25,000 and ACEI and the League of Minnesota Cities will cover the remaining $15,000.

As part of the settlement, the city will return the shop drawings to Ziegler and will receive the monitor and control equipment that Ziegler has not been able to sell. The city will attempt to sell the monitor and equipment to recoup more money. After commending Block and Chiglo on their work, the council accepted the settlement. All claims by both sides will be dismissed in court.

Village balks at sewer

rate increase

A letter sent to the City of Rushford Village detailing the recent sewer rate study and increase for the village with three pages of documentation was answered with a letter from the Village stating, "it is time to request a meeting with a Board of Arbitration." The Village letter claimed their sewer rates had increased by 400 percent in the past eight years.

Block responded that the rate increases had actually been 128.88 percent for the Village and 251.13 percent for the City over the past eight years.

Email communications straightened out some of the misunderstandings and resulted in a request by the village for another meeting to be held on September 11. At that time, the city plans to offer to have the engineer return to a future meeting, if the village so desires, as long as they are willing to split the cost of bringing in the engineer. The council, as a whole, felt the city had borne all the expense and work thus far regarding the sewer rates; additionally, they felt the city had shared all the information available with the city, providing the information as requested by the village. Block commented, "It's as solid a case as you're going to get."

Mayor Ladewig encouraged the council to "continue to work together (with the village) in a professional and courteous manner." No official action has been taken by the village at this time to go to arbitration.

Four water projects

The council approved proposals from Otomo Engineering to go out for bids on four separate water projects with the goal of completing the projects yet this fall. Projects include the construction of a sanitary sewer manhole at the intersection of Grove and Green Street, the construction of underground utilities and street for Larson Lane, providing access to the new snowmobile club building as well as two more lots, reconstruction of the watermain on East Harry Street, and a six-inch forcemain project to ease the pressure on the high speed lift station in North Rushford. No decisions will be made on proceeding with the projects until bids come back in. Otomo Engineering bills paid for services as of July total $25,039.00.

The council also passed resolution 2006-19 to "establish procedures relating to compliance with reimbursement bond regulations." This resolution makes it clear the city is to be reimbursed for project costs prior to the issuing of the bonds to finance them.

Other business

In other business, the council:

• approved a proposal by Tonka Equipment to do a pilot test (at a cost of $13,870) to verify the effectiveness of a water treatment plant in removing radium, iron, and manganese;

• heard from city attorney Chiglo that he will be checking into electric customers in the city not currently served by city power; the city is entitled to serve everything in the boundaries of the city-the city could conceivably apply to the PCA to have service maps redrawn, buy out the distribution plant, or charge a franchise fee to be forwarded to the city;

• approved purchase of a $630 headset radio for the new ambulance to improve communication with hospitals;

• acknowledged a $6,500 donation from Rushford Festivities, Inc. to the fire department;

• tabled a request by PWD Jeff Copley to replace the city loader; Copley wanted to avoid an upcoming change in emission requirements for engines that would lead to a decrease in power. The council was interested in checking costs with other vendors or the possibility of extending the warranty on the current loader instead.

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