With just three of the five council members in attendance, and Councilor Dave Gundundson serving as acting mayor, the Fountain’s City Council worked through a short agenda at the October 7 meeting. Two items were tabled for consideration next month with a full council.
The council did unanimously approve the applications for utility relief for local businesses via federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding. Four applications were received: Beaver Bottoms Saloon, Karst Brewing, Fillmore County Historical Society, and the Village Square. According to City Clerk Mary Tjepkes, all city businesses were made aware of the application. To date, there’s been no response from Drury’s or AJ’s Diner. However, businesses not approved in the first round still have time to submit an application for approval at the November 4 meeting.
Each approved business will receive a one-time $500 payment to be used towards ongoing utility payments. Any unused CARES funding will be submitted to Fillmore County on November 15. The city has used the funding in a number of ways, in addition to utility relief. Materials for cleaning and disinfecting have been the top priority and include personal protection equipment, hand sanitizing stations for the park, community center, and fire hall/city hall, as well as a machine to disinfect the floor at the community center.
City Engineer Craig Britton, of Widseth Smith Nolting, was on hand at the meeting to give an update on the Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP). While the plant is working and in compliance, the sand filter isn’t being utilized, so engineers and public works are collecting information to determine why. Michael Morris, point person for MMS Environmental, who assists with plant operation, was also at a loss as to why it’s not functioning, according to Britton.
“We’re trying to get our hands on an operation and maintenance manual,” noted Britton. “We’ll see if the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has one, if not, the mechanical supplier. The plant is operating okay. We’re just trying to figure out why.”
The council also approved a raise for Tjepkes, thereby noting the end of the standard probationary period for a new hire. She officially took the reins as clerk May 11, after training with outgoing clerk Rhonda Flattum since March. The council was obviously in great appreciation of Tjepkes’ work as jokes flew about offering her more money. Tjepkes, in response, was appreciative of their support, saying with a laugh, “Oh, thank you!”
Local media company Frontier requested to be placed on the city website as a source for new residents and businesses. After some brief discussion, the council opted to deny the request, noting fairness to other providers and businesses.
“We’re not a free website. If we put them, we’re going to have to put so many others,” note Tjepkes.
A number of smaller items were approved with little to no discussion. They included new tires and mounting for the city work truck, in the amount of $1,014, from Chatfield Body Shop; the spreading of waste from septic tanks and the WWTP on fields on Dan Schmidt’s property and preparation of any paperwork to verify it for the MPCA, annual liquor licenses for Beaver Bottoms Saloon and Karst Brewing, and lastly, notice of mail ballot voting procedure for the post office lobby.
The next regularly scheduled council meeting is Wednesday, November 4, at 7 p.m., at city hall.