Sewer repairs and issues were addressed during the regular meeting of the Spring Valley City Council on October 28, with all members present (Mayor Tony Archer, Luan Ruesink, Chris Danielson, John Dols, Mike Hadland and City Administrator Deb Zimmer). Immediately prior to the meeting, a public hearing was held regarding a residential property in violation of City Code 90.55 (commonly referred to as the city’s “junk ordinance”).
No citizens addressed the council during the public hearing, so it was promptly closed. During the regular council meeting, the council discussed what to do regarding the property, with Zimmer stating that, “He has been cleaning up; there are two appliances left, so I was told.” Danielson suggested the possibility of giving more time, but the council voted to proceed with the legal clean-up order, which includes the city removing any remaining clutter (at owner’s expense). Zimmer explained that if the owner finishes the clean-up during the legal process, there would be nothing for the city to come in and take care of.
The council considered bids for lining of sewer pipe. Zimmer shared that the city received two bids, and said regarding the bid from Hydro Klean, “They have done work for us in the past, and they are the low bidder.” The council discussed that even though the work will be expensive (Hydro Klean’s bid was $54,036.74) it is much cheaper than digging up roadways to make repairs. Zimmer also pointed out that lining the pipes will result in a savings at the wastewater treatment plant, since less run-off water will come into the plant to be treated. The council voted to accept the bid from Hydro Klean. The bid includes installation of just over 1,700 linear feet of liner.
There was discussion of the possibility of raising sewer rates. The most recent increase happened in February 2017. Zimmer shared a printout showing that the current base rate is $18.03 monthly, with a “per thousand gallon” rate of $4.34, which the sheet shows results in a total monthly sewer billing of $39.73 (based on average residential usage of 5,000 gallons). Zimmer’s printout showed the impacts if the “per thousand gallon” rate were changed to $4.54, and also what it would be at $4.64. These rates would increase the average residential billing by $1.20 and $1.70 per month, respectively. Mike Hadland asked if Zimmer could bring data on a “middle-ground” option; she will bring this to the next council meeting. No action was taken at this time. The council approved the purchase of a backup mixer for the wastewater treatment plant, at a cost of $7,047.50. The bid, from EP Electric Pump (New Prague, Minn.), was the only bid the city received. Aaron Hamersma reported that the plant has been running well.
Zimmer shared a letter that the city received from Shelly Skindelien (SV Chamber of Commerce) asking to again use the South Broadway hill for sledding, on December 7. The request also asked to close the west-side parking spots that day on North Broadway from Jefferson Street to the Community Center, from noon until after the parade, as the Boy Scouts plan to be making smores over fire pits. The council approved the request as submitted.
Library Director Jenny Simon said she’s enjoyed seeing a lot of patrons using the library recently. She also reminded citizens that the green donation bins are no longer at the library, so the only donated items the library is able to accept are books and DVDs. She added that there is apparently a crack in the library’s foundation, and an inspection is scheduled for January.
Mayor Archer thanked the American Legion and VFW for donation of 50 flags to the city. He also reminded citizens that when people have dogs on the trails, the dogs are to be leashed. He added, “Every time I’m out there, I’ve got to talk to people” to comply with this expectation. Mayor Archer also reminded citizens that winter parking rules will be in effect from November 1 through March 31.
The council approved a quote from JJBK to complete miscellaneous wall work in city hall, at a cost of $12,452. Due to Veterans Day, the next regular meeting of the council will be Wednesday, November 13 at 6 p.m. As always, the public is welcome.