By Barbie Porter
The Vergas City Council addressed an emergency at the water plant, which comes with a costly expense.
During its monthly city council meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 9, the recommendations from the sewer and water committee were reviewed. The committee includes Councilman Logan Dahlgren and Councilwoman Natalie Fischer, as well as the city’s Utilities Superintendent Mike DuFrane and Vergas City Administrator Julie Lammers.
During the Oct. 25 committee meeting, DuFrane explained a media filter at the water plant is leaking and needs to be replaced as soon as possible.
The committee meeting notes, provided to the council, stated DuFrane initially thought the filter could be repaired, but after further examination that was not the case.
“The filter is leaking in three places in a four-foot area,” the meeting notes stated. “If this blows it could be a disaster. Media filters have a 30-year life expectancy.”
A bid from Kurita was provided and the cost was $113,400, which was stated to be for necessary internal components and labor associated to refurbish two vertical pressure filters provided by Tonka Equipment in 1993.
Lammers said a loan could be taken out with a 1 percent interest. She added to get a grant, the cost of water fees would need to be at least $42. Currently the base rate is $28. Dahlgren noted if the city were to raise rates to $42, it wouldn’t likely need a loan for the water filter media.
The council agreed to obtain a loan with a seven-year payback and interest of 1 percent through Minnesota Rural Water.
Changes made for
compost site in Vergas
The compost site in Vergas was discussed, and changes were made that impact city residents and beyond.
In the past, Vergas city residents were not required to purchase a permit to utilize the compost site where grass clippings and other natural debris can be placed. While the permits remain free to city residents, those using the site will still need to obtain a permit.
The council hopes to track the number of city residents that use the site to determine if it is local or out-of-towners benefiting from the service. Lammers said city residents can bring a driver’s license or other ID with their address on it, a bill or other official paperwork that indicates where their residence is located. The permits can be picked up (or purchased by out-of-towners) at city hall or the liquor store.
The fee was also increased to those using the site who live outside of city limits. The reason for the increase was because the city budget has indicated the facility has run at a deficit the past few years. The waste management committee did not feel the city residents should shoulder the tax burden alone.
It was noted about $11,000 in permits were purchased in the past year. The permit started out at $20 and is now at $40. It was stated that fee has been in place the past three years. The council unanimously approved increasing the fee to $60, effective Jan. 1.
The council also approved allowing a member to speak with the neighboring townships to discuss issues they have faced with the facility.
The council agreed to also install a sign that states no dumping is allowed without a permit displayed.