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Extra unit charges on sewer bills have council members in a frenzy

GLENWOOD CITY — Members of the City Council were asked a question that they could not readily find an answer to. The question came from City Clerk/Treasurer, Sharon Rosenow about the new sanitary sewer rates. She told the council about the extra unit charges that were added to some of the bills, and she needs an answer before she did the quarterly billings next week.

At question is if a property has a rental unit, but only one water meter, an extra $22.30 is added to the sewer bill. There are also extra billings for the schools and nursing home. Rosenow stated that some have been charged the extra billings and some have not and she noted that one was charged too much.

Council member Steve Lee noted that when the city redid the city ordinances a number of years ago, some of the old wording was not taken out. “But how do we change this now?” he questioned. Other members felt that it was not a correct billing, because it was not based on the amount of usage.

After much discussion, the council agreed to leave it as it has been for this billing period, thus giving them time to look the matter over and make corrections. Member Ken Peterson suggested that the sewer utility might have to make a refund to some of those, if they were overcharged.

In other city business, the council heard from Cedar Corporation representative, Kevin Oium about a couple of projects including the repairs to the city’s water tower. He noted that the city crew had begun the draw down of more than 200,000 gallons of water in the tank on Monday, and Tuesday the repair company will be in to clean, inspect and make any repairs needed. Mayor John Larson noted that the company doing the work was the original builder of the facility and they will be doing the work at “no cost.” The mayor also told the council that he had someone with knowledge about the type of structure the city take a look at it. The mayor said, “I am told that the leaks are minor and the unit is no where near the end of it useful life.”

Oium also noted to the council that they would be taking bids on the sewer line project at the fairgrounds so the council can approve them at the October meeting. He indicated that most contractors are “backed up” and they may have to rebid it in the spring. Later in the meeting, city maintenance head, Doug Doornink, reported that the fire hydrant near Ormson’s SuperValu was leaking and the attempt to repair it failed. The council agreed to have Cedar include a bid for the hydrant with the sewer work at the fairgrounds.

Doornink reported to the council about the backup at the lift station following the heavy rains the area has experience recently. He noted that the manholes along First Street had seven feet of water in them and it had backed up into the M&M Bar. Doornink stated that the two pumps at the lift station ran continually for 14 hours last week. “They normally operate about three hours daily,” he said. He noted that the lift station is plumbed for three pumps and the third could be installed. But the question remained, “where is all that rain water getting into the sanitary sewer lines?” Several ideas were tossed about at the council table including, the lines at the fairgrounds, manhole covers and sump pumps at local homes and that water runs into the basement of homes and down the floor drain.

With all the rain, the council heard from Marlene Kerr about water coming off Syme Avenue, across Oak Street and onto her property and into her garage. John McCutchin also attended the council meeting noting that most of the water is coming off his property on the west side of Syme Avenue. He noted how it had washed his driveway out. He told the council about a plan he had that might fix the problem.

In other action the council approved spending $5,425 to replace the fence around the swimming pool. Doornink saying that they would replace the poles and tops with new material and use the old fence.

Doornink also informed the council that the city was offered a great deal on a new front-end loader. He told the council that it is something that the Village of Boyceville has been involved with for some time. The City will get a new front-end loader every six to twelve months and that it will cost the city $500 a month. He noted that a new unit would cost about $150,000.

The council approved a resolution to terminate the TIF District Number two, which has repaid all the improvement costs. The area of district is where the fire station is located. The Mayor noted that the fund has some $400,000 in reserves and the auditor will figure how it will be distributed to the taxing districts.