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Snow Removal ‘Issues’ Spice Up City Council Meeting

The New Salem Journal of New Salem, North Dakota

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A disagreement, of sorts, took up much of the first part of the regular January 11 New Salem City Council meeting. Local contractor Keith Hoesel was at odds with the city council over a misunderstanding at the January 4th special council meeting where snow removal in the city was among the main topics of discussion.

Hoesel rallied a number of residents to attend the January 11 council meeting to support his feelings that a snow removal "plan of attack" was not followed after the recent snow storms. He also stated that he had been accused of wrecking the streets with his snow removal efforts by some council members.

The issue, in which misunderstandings seemed rampant, appeared to be -somewhat resolved after lengthy discussion.

Members of the city council also pointed out that they had found a snow removal policy drafted in 1997 that will aid in future snow removal efforts.

New Salem resident Milton Grube said that he, for one, appreciates the city's work in removing snow following the storm, and the council's backing of city employees and the work they do. He also commended Hoesel for his work to clear snow. "As a former council member I know what problems you can go through on the council, but we have to live with this," Grube said of die snow situation, "we can't accuse each other. We should work together."

New Salem businessman Clint Feland came to the meeting to discuss with the council the situation with a sewer service line at the edge of his property north of Co. Rd. 139 along Highway 31. Feland had spoken with the council in June in regard to having sewer stubbed in from the main to the edge of his property, as was the case for other properties north of Co. Rd. 139.

Stubbing sewer in to the edge of Feland's property was not part of die plan for the sewer line extension because there was no existing structure on that property. Witii that said, Feland, as well as die council, believed that the subject was no longer an issue. Feland, however, said he was "pleasantly surprised" when he drove by his property one day and noticed tiiat he had gotten a service line installed, but was then unpleasantly surprised when he got the bill Nov. 6 from Naastad Bros, for installation of a service line in the amount of $4,015.

Neiuier Feland nor Andrew Aakre, engineer for the project, had told Naastad Bros, to go ahead and install the service line to the edge of Feland's property. Aakre said it was an "obvious miscommunication".

Feland said he did not feel the bill should be his, saying that he felt it should be the city's responsibility for economic development. He said his plan was to possibly dig in die service line himself later on.

Aakre said the plan for die sewer line installation called for service lines to be dropped to all property where mere were existing buildings and in regard to immediate need.

It was Feland's request mat the council treat him the same as other property owners in the north business district who had a service line dropped to die edge of their property. "I'm not asking for any more, or less, than other property owners got."

Members of the council asked Aakre if the cost of installing the service line to Feland's property could be submitted to USDA for payment from the remaining sewer line/ wastewater project funds. Aakre said there should be sufficient funds left over to cover the invoice. The council then unanimously approved submitting me invoice to USDA for payment.

Another local businessman, Ray Olin, Rolin, Mfg., was at the meeting to discuss with die council the snow piled up around his business. Olin said he had 10 feet of snow around two sides of his business and as a result didn't have access to me road into die business and snow had been piled up on top of some of his iron. Olin wandered if it was the city's obligation to clear snow up to the curb.

City maintenance supt. Dane Fuchs said mat me problem on Olin's property was that the drift mere was so large he couldn't get tiirough it witii the equipment he was using at the time. Olin said that the snow could stay there for now, however would rather not have any more piled up on his property in die future.

Fuchs said he and assistant Ed Vogel are very open to the requests of residents and businessmen, saying, "We've never refused any reasonable request."

On that note, resident Stanley Jochim requested that the city make a point to sand at the intersection of Spruce and 10th St. He said that is one intersection mat is usually passed up, but which gets quite slippery. Fuchs said he would make a note to drop sand at that intersection.

Anna Marie Kraft was at the council meeting regarding the line locate fee of $1,058.20 from Roto Rooter which was charged to Sunset Inn. At an earlier meeting Jim Paszek, of First Western Bank and Trust, spoke on behalf of Sunset Inn, asking tiiat me board reconsider charging the bill to Sunset Inn, as it is die feeling of those involved tiiat it is die city's responsibility to supply the line location to die business owner.

Council member Delton Kautzman noted that die line location had been requested six weeks prior to the actual locate, so the city should have had time to do the locate. Alderman Tracy Cof er added that the contractor requested the locate through One Call according to procedure. It was also noted that while Roto Rooter was out, Fuchs had asked them to locate all of the lines in that area for future reference, which was included in the $1,058.20 which was all charged to Sunset. The council agreed tiiat one business owner should not be responsible for the line locates for other businesses. It was the final decision of die council to reimburse Sunset Inn the $1,058.20 they paid for the line locates.

Aakre informed the council tiiat KLJ and Naastad Bros, had come to an agreement regarding payment to Bruce Blend for damage to his land during the lagoon repair portion of the city's sewer line and wastewater project. He said that Naastad Bros, will send a check for their portion of the settlement to city attorney John Mahoney. He was asking if die city would be holding to their agreement to pay one third of the settlement as was stated earlier. It was the decision of the board that they would stick with the city's offer to pay one third of die settlement, or $3,667.

Aakre said diis fee could be added to the last change order for die sewer line and wastewater project, and the city's portion could be included as a site-restoration line item.

City auditor Shian Wessels then asked if the line locate fee for the north businesses could also be taken from the funds left over from the city's grant. Aakre said it could be covered by those funds because it was a result of die project.

There may be between $50,000 and $55,000 left over from the grant, so Aakre said mat if the city has any other sewer-related issues that need to be taken care of, the leftover funds could be used.

It was reported that the landfill inspection went well. In a related issue, Fuchs said that he will cut down the slope on the ash pit, however that area is full of huge chunks of concrete which the city may have to hire Clint Feland to push into the pit in the future.

If was reported mat the garbage issue at 113 N. 6th St. has been resolved. The council approved payment of a bill submitted, by Cofer Sanitation in the amount of $448.60 for cost of a box for the trash and remaining balance of the resident's garbage bill.

Auditor Wessels gave council members copies of strategic plans from other area cities which the Bismarck-Mandan Development Association gave the council to look over as examples when formulating New Salem's strategic plan. Richard Mower, of BMDA, also listed items that the council should look over in regard to creating a strategic plan.

The council briefly discussed an energy audit of the city auditorium, Wessels adding that in talking with a representative of the energy audit group, he thought that one of the most important things to look at replacing in the auditorium would be the lighting, as installation of new, energy efficient lighting could be a big money-saver.

At the close of the meeting Mayor Owens announced to (he rest of the board that he will not seek re-election as mayor of New Salem, leaving the position to a new slate of candidates. Up for election this year along with the mayorship, are the council seats of Delton Kautzman, Scott Rud and Tracy Cofer.

The council will hold a special meeting on Monday, February 1, at 6^30 p.m. The regular monthly meeting of the council will be Monday evening, February 8, at 6:30 p.m.

Copyright 2010 The New Salem Journal, New Salem, North Dakota. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: January 20, 2010

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