4/24/2014 3:25:00 PM Lindstrom City Council airs channel complaint
This is the area of the channel city officials are most disappointed with...the outflow is to upper center and erosion and gully creation are easily visible in photo. The DNR hydrologist suggested shoreland plantings in the area alongside the channel but said additional vegetation plantings farther back from the channel are not planned by MnDOT.
Audit also presented
The city 2013 audit for Lindstrom was presented to council last week. Some highlights included:
~ The budget expenses and revenues have been remarkably consistent over the last three years, the auditor reported.
~ Lindstrom taxpayers are contributing about the same level in taxes as residents in other comparable-sized cities are, but Lindstrom debt-per-capita is half of its “peer” cities.
~ Public Works’ budget increased substantially, about $70,000, due to the city taking over highway 8 plowing and due to the snowy winter.
~ The financials for the on-sale and off-sale city liquor stores, when combined, are showing higher than state averages for income. However-- the stores’ combined gross profits are significantly less than state muni averages. “The city should monitor this trend,” the audit states. The off-sale liquor store level of income, as a percentage of its sales, (before transfers into the city general fund) should also be monitored, because it’s at 4.6 percent compared to state average of 8.5 percent.
~ The city’s fund balance is getting closer to where experts recommend it to be at 50 percent. It was 48 percent of next year’s, at the end of 2013 which was up from 44 percent in 2011. ~ Lindstrom took in about $1.8 million in total and spent about $1.6 million in 2013.
by DENISE MARTIN
Lindstrom city officials have been awaiting a state official since last fall, to have somebody to talk to about the condition of the newy-built channel between North and South Lindstrom lakes. Last week, the DNR’s Regional Hydrologist was finally in council chambers. Craig Wills listened as council and a couple of North Lindstrom Lake residents offered their observations about problems with the project. In the end Wills advised he’ll keep working with construction officials at the Minnesota Department of Transportation, but he cautioned, “My understanding is that Minn-DOT considers this project closed out.”
Orris Erlandson, a lakeshore dweller and a member of the Lindstrom Planning Commission, is also a home builder. He said if he left one of his projects in a similar condition to this channel, he’d be in jail. He said erosion is rampant, the slopes of the channel and adjacent hillside will never be stable due to the steep angle-- and the outlet structure from the elevated stormwater holding depression couldn’t possibly have been designed to function as badly as it is. He watched in disbelief last year as MnDOT “threw sod on it” and it slid into the lake. There’s erosion control fiber mesh visible atop washed-out soils, he added. Wills said his research shows Lindstrom opposed installing a solid-sided channel to avoid propeller damage and other concerns. The city must understand that the “channel” previously was a box culvert and this new type of channel has different characteristics.
The area was also experiencing dry weather last summer so vegetation (seed) didn’t take hold. “The project is within acceptable tolerances. Is it perfect,” he asked, “no...but it’s what we’ve got.” Wills and council disagreed that higher water levels could improve the situation. Wills felt that once the channel sides get covered by water any instability will be reduced. Mayor Carlson said he is concerned just the opposite will happen and even more sediment will be washed into the channel by wave action. “The channel is even less navigable than before,” Carlson said of what was supposed to be a new and improved amenity. The bottom of the channel is set at 892 feet above sea level and, mathematically, should be able to carry water as North Lindstrom rises and flows into South Lindstrom, Willis explained.
The discussion ended with Wills advising the city it can apply for a shoreland work permit and see if the silting deposits can be addressed. He also said the city can try telling MnDOT the stormwater outlet structure is installed incorrectly and isn’t functioning. Wills can also reveiw the project for the channel slope to be softened, giving vegetation somewhere to take hold, but he isn’t sure where that will go. He said sometimes shoreland plantings move out further into the water and then the DNR gets complaints vegetation is out of control. In other business, the annexation request of Jon and Jennifer Handlos, property owners at 30865 Minnesota Avenue, was okayed on a 5-0 vote.
The hook-up to city sewer is a condition to mortgage financing for the property, which is on the market, Handlos reported. The city sewer system is already underground in that partially township-city neighborhood, east of #14 and west of North Lindstrom Lake. Council member William Schlumbohm, sr asked why the annexation agreement has Lindstrom giving Chisago Lake Township five years of transitional taxes. He said statute calls for two years. He could see enhancing the deal if Lindstrom was doing a hostile annexation, but this was the property owner’s request. Staff said five years is common practice in township-Lindstrom orderly annexation agreements.
~ Lindstrom and Chisago City hold their clean-up day May 17. Disposal of a host of items is free of charge for city residents on that day, at a special site on Liberty Lane, in the industrial park in Chisago City. Watch for details in this paper or see city websites. ~ The idea of doing a study to see where cities in the Chisago Lakes Area (Center City, Lindstrom and Chisago City) and the township could collaborate for cost savings and provision of services isn’t being received well. There is still a session scheduled to present the consolidation study to the township board of supervisors; but Center City flat-out rejected looking into it and Chisago City hasn’t expressed acceptance or rejection of the idea.