7/11/2013 4:01:00 PM Public works staffs-up, and land purchase loan left open
by DENISE MARTIN
The public works department for the city of Wyoming is getting back to full personnel strength with last week’s council okay on filling vacancies. Eric Rydeen is coming on as streets lead worker at $26.60 an hour and maintenance employee Josh Smith starts at $20.30 an hour. Both can respond within 20 minutes from their residences in the event of a city emergency and both came highly recommended by administration. Council then discussed the request from the joint sewer commission’s chairman, asking for action on a proposed loan that the commission hopes to get for upcoming capital projects. The Chisago Lakes Joint Sewage Treatment Commission members voted in June to cap the loan at $1 million.
Wyoming Council member and CLJSTC liaison Joe Zerwas told his council last week that “after the meeting” it was agreed member cities who support a proposed purchase of land adjacent to the CLJSTC main plant, for the additional $300,000, should put an action before their councils for votes of support. This would mean the commission would borrow $1.3 million, but apparently only some cities would be paying off the $300,000. Lindstrom received a letter from the CLJSTC chair asking for the city to participate in buying the 80 acres at approximately $300,000 and council supported it (story June 27.) Center City’s council approved the land purchase financing at its June meeting as well. In reviewing the CLJSTC chairman’s request for support, Wyoming’s City Administrator Craig Mattson had concerns about this process. Mattson explained that the sewer commission seems relatively unpredictable, and doesn’t seem to lay groundwork anticipating how its expenditures impact the cities’ budgets in the commission.
Mattson said Wyoming’s in the middle of doing a sewer and water rate study in preparation for raising rates. The CLJSTC can impact city budgets by “hundreds of thousands of dollars” when unanticipated expenditures pop-up, such as recent unbudgeted expenses addressing odor complaints at lift stations. Mattson said the city has needs outside of what the commission wants-- like a water tower, a new city well, etc.) and he has no idea how much the loan package will cost Wyoming annually. Wyoming is liable for about 23 percent of the CLJSTC’s budget based on capacity it has in the system. Joe Zerwas said he can get CLJSTC staff to send more details on finances, as well as an outline of future capital projects the commission has on its radar. He told his city council he thinks the land purchase is supportable, even after Council member Linda Nanko-Yeager pointed out he voted to eliminate the $300,000 for the land, and set the loan at $1 million when the CLJSTC voted in June. Zerwas said he was just trying to get the loan application moving and lock in favorable interest rates. He suggested maybe council could just express support for applying for a Rural Water Assoc.
MIDI loan and the exact amount could be adopted later. City council members did vote 5-0 allowing the Rural Water MIDI Loan to “move ahead” but with no amount in the council motion. Council also approved a minor subdivision splitting off one new 2.7 acre parcel leaving an existing house on a 2.2 acre parcel, in the area around Fallbrook and 250th. Council heard in public forum comments from Jerry Owen that the #61 and 250th intersection is dangerous and a light is needed. There was a crash in that area the day of the council session. He said people need to let local state legislators know the site needs safety measures, and “put pressure on MnDOT” as it’s a state highway. Resident Dan Babbitt questioned the mayor’s personal website content saying he needs to quit bullying the one council member, whose no vote on road bonding led to the city holding a financing referendum in August. Council member Roger Elmore serves as liaison to the parks board and he stated he is “disappointed” in the new skatepark’s lack of progress. He said he has been told it will be constructed by Stagecoach Days late this summer-- but the skatepark was “supposed to be done by now.” The project was delayed on a “miscommunication” regarding galvanized reinforcement in the concrete, so the contractor went on to another skatepark site commitment.