11/28/2013 1:07:00 PM Future state aid monies committed to road
by DENISE MARTIN
Wyoming’s plan to sell bonds to jump-start a multi-year street reconstruction effort was rejected by voters a few months ago-- leaving the city to go back to the drawing board. At last week’s council meeting members supported 4-0 (with Steve Zerwas absent) attaching future state aid monies to one of the neediest stretches of roadway in the reconstruction plan, Greenway Ave. Council heard City Engineer Mark Erichson explain that the action will deliver the city’s written request for state aid monies from MnDOT. Erichson said he seeks to commit five upcoming years of state funding, at $1.7 million.
This provides “the most flexibility” although Wyoming probably won’t have to spend the full amount on Greenway, he added. The state gets multiple requests like this annually from cities and counties. The requests are rated for project importance, the jurisdiction’s overall uses for the money, as the state decides which future funding encumbrancers it will agree to. City Administrator Craig Mattson said he’s never “been a fan” of encumbering state aid funds in advance, but he agrees that Greenway needs to be done sooner than later. The Greenway work zone is along the north side (west) of Hwy 8 up to Goodview only. No work is proposed for the Forest Lake side of Goodview. In engineering matters; the council got an update on Wyoming’s state-mandated wellhead protection plan.
Part I is complete and Part II is underway, on track to be submitted to the Dept. of Health by a deadline of June 2014. No action was needed by council, this update was for information only. Nancy Ziegler, WSB engineering consultants, walked council through the second part of the wellhead plan. The city has little “vulnerability” for aquifer contamination mostly due to its geology, she explained. The potable drinking water protections are based on a one-year “emergency area” in which contaminants could theoretically access water supplies and a 10-year groundwater model. The “wellhead protection area” that Wyoming and all municipalities are responsible to study involves the 10-year surface to aquifer seepage area. In Phase II Wyoming’s wells will be inventoried, mapped and records reviewed to see if they are “in use, have a maintenance plan or have been capped” explained Ziegler. Wyoming has four municipal wells but private wells are also part of the plan. Minnesota Dept. of Health representative John Freitag noted there are grants available to assist cities doing this required groundwater contamination management study.
City Public Works Supervisor Jason Windingstad reported that culverts are being replaced on West Comfort and Grand Avenue in short order. The bottoms have failed and no longer support the weight above. The work will be mostly contracted with city workers assisting. In other business: a request for a decrease in water and sewer access fees was sought by Jerry McConnell, owner of Pizza Pub in North Branch. He hopes to purchase the empty Blockbuster video rental store space and open a second pizza place. WAC and SAC fees are about $65,000. McConnell is asking for a third to be lopped off. He said the costs simply can’t be justified, when fees up front to the city are such a big chunk. Council agreed to “discuss” the fees at a budget workshop set for this week (Nov 25.) There were also questions to research how McConnell’s purchase of a portion of the Viking Commons project affects the TIF District there. Administrator Mattson said the Tax Increment Financing agreement references the complex’s current owner; but creating a new taxable parcel and property out of a portion of the site could impact how the original financial subsidy is structured.
The Wyoming Park Board is taking a break. Council “suspended” all meetings and dismissed existing members while the by-laws, budget, mission and goals are reviewed. Existing members and any interested new members will be invited to apply after the structuring is done. The group is to re-form no later than six months from date of council action. Council had the pleasure of accepting a $15,000 gift from the Hallberg Family Foundation. Gene Hallberg met with staff and agreed to fund equipment purchases needed by the public safety department: a thermo imaging camera, three sets of turnout gear and a portable digital surveillance camera that can be installed at trouble spots in the city. Council also had the unpleasant task of accepting the resignation of 27-year law enforcement employee Scott Dexter. Sgt. Dexter is retiring as of Dec 30, 2013. There will be an event announced later recognizing his service.