The Spring Valley City Council met in regular session September 25, with all members present (Tony Archer, Todd Jones, Mayor Jim Struzyk, Jessy Betts, Mike Hadland and City Administrator Deb Zimmer). No visitors had signed up to address the council.
Brian Malm, representing the firm of Bolton & Menk, was on hand to explain the preliminary plans for Spring Valley’s proposed 2018 street and utility improvement project. He said that it covers a large area, including South Washington, Fremont, Franklin, High, Church and Park Streets, so, “Really, it’s your southwest quadrant of town.” Malm stated that as presently outlined, the total project cost is estimated around $5.6 million.
Malm went on to explain that since the city wishes to keep the assessment impact roughly in line with that from the recent Lyndale/Fremont project, he suggests lowering the assessment rate to the minimum level allowed (20%). He said because of the large number of corner lots involved in this project, and due to the city’s plans to offer corner lots a 50% discount, the assessment impact would be considerably higher on homeowners if the city used the 25% rate that was originally considered.
Malm also said that Bolton & Menk would like to have an informal “neighborhood informational meeting” prior to the city’s public hearing. He explained that this allows concerned citizens to get answers to their specific questions, so the public hearing can run more smoothly.
The council voted to accept the report from Bolton & Menk, and to call for a public hearing on the project. The date was set for October 23 at 6 p.m. The proposed timeline for the project includes advertising for bids in February 2018, construction beginning in May 2018, and a targeted completion date of June 2019.
The council OK’d the proposed lease agreement, allowing Trout Run Ginseng & Shrimp to lease the incubator building for $1 per year, for a five year duration, beginning November 1, 2017. The agreement includes a stipulation that the tenant will install steel siding.
The council discussed what to do with the old squad car. It was pointed out that the sale value would be probably $3,000 or less, so the council chose to keep the car for the Parks department to use, since the Parks department has a pickup truck that is quickly nearing the end of its useful life.
Next, there was discussion of the ambulance weekend call rate. Sue Puffer explained the request to increase the weekend rate as an incentive for staff to pick up weekend hours. She said currently, it tends to be the same small group of staff who work weekends, and this sometimes creates significant challenges in filling the schedule. The suggestion was to double the weekend rate from $2.50 to $5 an hour. Jessy Betts asked if this has helped in the past, such as when the rates were increased over the summer. Puffer said the increase does seem to encourage staff to pick up more shifts. The council OK’d the change to $5 through the end of the year. The weekend rate will be from 6 p.m. on Fridays through Sunday at midnight.
The council voted to increase the pay rates for two positions on the Fire Department. The first and second assistant chief positions were increased, due to the recognition of additional duties they now perform. All other rates remain unchanged.
The Wastewater Treatment Plant job description was updated. It was mentioned that this position will also be asked to help with snow removal, as able. The city will advertise the position through October, and hopes to hire someone in early December. The next regular meeting of the city council will be Monday, October 9 at 6 p.m. The public is welcome.