City Council Discuss Sewer Restoration
Edina City officials spent most of a lengthy meeting Monday, December 12, discussing the 2011 budget, the 2012 budget, and some major expenditures coming in the next few months. These expenditures include a new trash truck, a durable restoration to the 70 year-old sewer system, and other repairs.City Treasurer Peggy Collinge led the discussion by presenting the 2011 budget amendments. Those were all passed unanimously.In regard to the proposed 2012 budget, a number of other reports were presented.Mark Bross, of Klingner and Associates spoke about the process of restoring the sewer system. He told of a method of inserting a “sleeve” to line the old sewer pipes. The sleeve is then “inflated” using steam. This follows a study in which the old lines are “mapped”, using a camera, and cutaways are made for each connection to a residence. This way, streets do not have to be torn up.Sewer mains will probably be lined with a concrete-plaster system wherever possible. If the mains are insupportable or crumbling they will be repaired or replaced. Construction could potentially be completed in 2013.Bross presented figures estimating the cost of these programs to the tune of well over $2 million. He noted that the City has “been financially sound for a long, long time. You and the previous members of the Council have been doing a good job.”He supplied several methods of funding the improvements, and the council members voted unanimously to put the revenue bonds on the ballot to fund the water and sewer replacements. Bross stressed that this is “not a tax, but a revenue bond for water and sewer. The increase in the sewer rates will pay the bonds.”He continued, “ if the bond issue is passed, rates will take a slight increase, if not there will be a much larger increase.”Bross also presented estimates for the replacement of the waste water treatment plant. Everyone speaking about the plant noted that it was built to serve the city for fifteen years, and through judicious stewardship, has lasted for about 30. The estimated cost of replacement is a half-million dollars.Waste water Superintendent Brad Eitel added more bad news to the Council, saying he had a pump go bad on Friday, estimated costs of repair was $6,000. He also suggested the purchase of a new emergency backup pump, as the current one is in extremely poor shape. The cost of that pump is $14,000.Streets and Utilities Superintendent Mike Wriedt added some information to that which he had previously presented to council member about the intended replacement for the ten-plus year-old trash truck. Board members approved the purchase unanimously.Board members elected to hold a public hearing in January to discuss the proposed raise in the water and sewer rates. It has been three years since the rates were raised. According to Collinge, the sewer fund has been being carried by the water fund for some years.When the vote came to approve the 2012 budget, there were four ayes and two nays. When asked about his nay vote, Councilman Craig Miller remarked of his “nay” that he felt the out of town trash customers should have a $2 fee added to their bill because they pay no city taxes. Councilman Sid Leckbee pointed out that they deliver their trash to the truck, it requires no man at the truck, and the truck uses no gas.Councilwoman Renee Edwards explained her
“nay” vote by saying that, since the City has, through the years continuously paid the increasingly higher insurance rates, she did not feel the council needed to continuously offer budgeted yearly raises to city employees.Councilwoman Edwards gave a brief report on the recent 911 meeting with the County Commissioners.Mike Wriedt noted that the new building was about 95 per cent organized, and invited council members to view the facility.The Council set December 13 through January 17 as the candidate filing period.