By Barbie Porter
The Frazee City Council took the moral high ground and agreed to pay for half the cost of damage done to a city home when the sewer backed up.
Susan and James Jaroszewski live on Lake Street. They explained the city’s sewer line was blocked. The blockage caused a sewage back-up in their basement. The damage included sheetrock, carpet and so forth.
The sewer and water pipes in that section of town, along Lake Street, are scheduled to be replaced this year when the State Highway 87 reconstruct project begins.
The insurance company was called, but the Jaroszewskis learned they did not have sewage back up coverage.
From a legality standpoint on the city’s behalf, the city attorney explained the law states a city must do regular checkups. It was noted the city of Frazee does system checks yearly.
Councilman Mark Flemmer recapped the potential outcomes. He noted the council could refuse helping the resident pay for damages and there could be a court hearing. Or, the council could consider its moral obligation and make it right.
“Is a once a year check enough?”Mark Flemmer, Frazee City Councilman on city sewer checkups
Frazee City Administrator added jetting should take place every three to four years, according the Minnesota League of Cities. The last jetting in that section of town was done July 21, 2020.
Flemmer questioned, if the city would set a precedence if it were to provide financial assistance due to the sewage back up?
The city attorney stated he didn’t see setting a precedence as an issue, as there are specific factors that led to the incident.
The council approved providing the Jaroszewski with $7,500 for repairs. It was noted the attorney would also draw up an agreement releasing the city from any future claims regarding the issue.
Eagle Lake Park may not go to highest bidder
Selling property to the highest bidder means more money in the city coffers, but the council may buck the practice when it comes to selling Eagle Lake Park.
The city council has reviewed considerations for using the park as a four-unit seasonal campground and selling the property, with funds going to improving Town Lake Beach or other parks in city limits.
Eagle Lake Park is about three miles west of town that is 4.5 acres and 185 feet of frontage on Eagle Lake. There are structures, such as a 16-square-foot shed built in 1990, an asphalt road, 4-foot tall wood fencing stretching 178 lineal feet that was installed in 2009 and two 400-square-foot picnic shelters, both built in 1900.
The Becker County Parcel Information assesses the property at $150,600.
Councilman Mike Sharp said Eagle Lake property owners indicated they wanted exclusive rights to purchasing the property.
Councilman Mark Flemmer said once the appraisal price is known, consideration could be given to sell the property. He added if the Eagle Lake property owners were to purchase it, it may mean there would be a public access maintained. He added, according to the Minnesota League of Cities, the council does not have to accept a high bid.
Sharp confirmed that to be the case with the city attorney.
Monthly department reports given
The council heard, in January, the Frazee Police Department responded to 789 calls, with 12 of them being traffic-related.
Frazee Rescue went to 27 calls in January and 14 were in city limits.
New Frazee Fire Department Chief Nathan Matejka presented to the council on the department happenings in January. He said in January there were five calls. Of the five, one was a false alarm, two were vehicle roll overs on U.S. Highway 10, one was a house fire and there was a mutual aid call to Detroit Lakes.
Matejka said the department welcomed a new probationary firefighter. On the other side of the coin, he added another member of the crew exited.
“We’re always looking for new firefighters.”Nathan Matejka, Frazee Fire Department Chief
Matejka stated the fire department will look to sell its oldest engine, as well as a utility/jaws truck and grass truck. He explained the oldest engine is in need of maintenance. As for the trucks, Matejka said the department will look to purchase another truck that will combine the two units. He said their goal is to sell the engine and trucks and get one replacement truck by years end.
The city utilities superintendent was not present at the meeting, as he reportedly was attending a class. Frazee City Administrator Jordin Roberts noted the water treatment plant pumped 4.58 million gallons. The wastewater plant pumped 2.6 million gallons and .31 inches of precipitation were recorded.
Welcome sign to be removed
The council discussed the Welcome to Frazee sign along Lake Street that is missing a panel. Repairs have been done on the sign in the past. With more repairs needed, the council discussed the future of the sign.
In the end the council seemed to agree that the sign should be removed during the State Highway 87 project work.