City council agrees to storm sewer mapping

Photo by Chad Koenen
Attendance was down slightly at the annual Maple Syrup Festival in Vergas on April 1. The event featured a pancake breakfast with fresh maple syrup that was sponsored by the Vergas Community Club and the Vergas Lions Club.

By Robert Williams


Maple Syrup Fest attendance numbers were down due to various factors, including the weather, according to a Community Club report at the Vergas City Council Meeting on Tuesday, April 11.

The Vergas Community Club and the Vergas Lions still nearly served 400 people at the pancake feed, according to Sherri Hanson Park Committee chair. The 5k race that was canceled is tentatively going to be rescheduled for June 3, during the Club’s newest event Hops and Shops on the same day. The event’s logo and other details are still being created. Damien Anderson has been confirmed to perform, along with another musician to be named later. 

The Downtown Art Camp is also scheduled for June on Saturday the 10th.

Streets/Sidewalks/Yard Waste

The Streets/Sidewalks/Yard Waste committee recommended the completion of right-of-way studies for West Lake Street and West Sunset Strip by Widseth Engineering, along with storm sewer mapping.

The mapping will include an engineering site visit with Utilities Superintendent Mike DuFrane to examine the existing storm sewer and pin down locations for Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping.

Widseth provided an hourly rate agreement for the mapping up to $4,000.

“I don’t see us coming up to that $4,000, but I know a lot of times going back-and-forth with the county—if it takes a while to get their stuff it could bump that up. To not exceed the $4,000 is the agreement,” said Widseth civil engineer Blaine Green.

Last summer, the council entered an agreement with Widseth to create the city’s own cloud-based GIS mapping system. Continually updating data to the GIS site will allow near real-time viewing of city streets and properties.

The system will allow for precise and live data including curb stops, water line and sewer line locations for individual properties, current construction permit locations, and allow for customized data needed during city meetings making decision-making faster on proposed or ongoing projects and development. 

The program allows for all kinds of city-specific datasets and serves as a centralized database of all the city information in one place.

Event Center

The Event Center committee is requesting the city hire someone to oversee the Event Center. Duties would include: showing the center, meeting renters and doing walkthroughs prior to events; cleaning and inventory, among other duties. The committee is also considering a set-up and tear-down option for renters for approximately $500, whereby renters could pay for said service.

The council agreed to have the hiring request moved to the personnel committee to determine how many hours the job will demand, funding and other task-related specifics.

The council approved the purchase of new cabinets for $5,295.75. The money will be allocated from the Event Center’s kitchen remodel fund. The order was needed to be put in as the delivery time is pushed out two to three months, according to City Clerk/Treasurer Julie Lammers.


Superintendent Report

DuFrane reported damage to the city’s plow truck at the end of the winter season, including a torn-out rear end, broken leaf springs and damage to the braking system. Initial estimates for repair is around $12,000, which is the amount the city paid for the truck when purchased.

“That truck is not worth $12,000,” said DuFrane.

DuFrane will work with the Streets/Sidewalks/Yard Waste committee to explore multiple options for a replacement truck.


Annual Meeting

The Vergas Economic Development Authority (EDA)/Housing Redevelopment Authority (HRA) will hold its annual meeting at the Event Center on Tuesday, April 25. The meeting begins with a social hour at 5:30 p.m., followed by a dinner catered by the Loons Nest at 6 p.m. Spanky’s will run the bar. 

Speakers include Park Committee chair Sherri Hanson, EDA/HRA president Kevin Zitzow and committee members, Otter Tail County Community Development Director Amy Baldwin and tentatively Rural Rebound Initiative Coordinator Erik Osberg.

The EDA/HRA also discussed the potential hire of a deputy clerk/treasurer position at their meeting Tuesday, April 4.