Financial adviser suggests moving forward with Swanville water and street project

Staff Writer

The city of Swanville is eligible to receive a loan of approximately $1.2 million to replace existing water main, services and hydrants as part of the continuing work to replace its water distribution system constructed in 1930 – 1931.

The $1.2 million includes money for the construction and project contingency fund and engineering, administrative, legal, bonding and interest costs. The projected interest rate was presented to the Swanville City Council at 1.5 percent.

The  Council agreed to hire the firm of Widseth Smith and Nolting Tuesday, to draw up the project’s design and follow the project to the end at a cost not to exceed $165,000. The plans must be submitted to the Minnesota Department of Health for approval by March 15.

The project design will include replacing the water main on Rhoda Avenue from County Road 12 to Sixth Street; replacing the water main from Berkey to the water tower on Third Street and the water main on Fifth Street from Rhoda to Berkey Avenue.

During the Council’s discussion, Councilman Jim Molitor asked if Jennie-O could be assessed at a higher rate.

Financial Adviser David Drown said, “Theoretically you can, but you must assess all categories the same. I think you could reach out and assess Jennie-O different than the rest.”

With other Council members agreeing, Molitor said, “I think we should.”

The pros and cons of doing only part of the proposed project was discussed.

“If you know you are going to have to do the rest in the next couple of years and I was in your chair, I would do what you need to do now. If you don’t, you are going to have to do it soon. I say, go for it,” Drown said.

Further discussion on the assessments will be held at the Council’s March 5 public hearing for the project.

At the special meeting, residents will be able to give their input on the project before the  Council takes action to approve or to delay the project.

When asked for his input, Drown said, “My sense is that it is not a bad time to do the complete project, but it will have an impact on the people of the town.”

Drown estimated an increase in taxes on homes valued at $100,000 would be approximately $15 a month.

Swanville City Council Briefs

In other business Tuesday, the Swanville City Council:

• Agreed to advertise for a part-time maintenance person who would work approximately 40 hours a month as needed;

• Appointed A.J. Johnson as acting mayor in the absence of Mayor Sandy Peterson;

• Designated the First State Bank of Swanville as the city’s depository and the Morrison County Record as its official newspaper;

• Set the first Tuesday after the first Monday of each month as the city’s regular meeting date;

• Set the bond of the city clerk/treasurer at $12,000;

• Named the law office of Peters and Churchwell as the city attorneys  and Widseth Smith and Nolting as city engineers;

• Assigned duties to the following  Council members and city residents — Community Center, Julie Hollermann; city park, Duane Johnson and Sandy Peterson; streets and sidewalks, Jim Piekarski and Johnson; Springbrook Cemetery, Hollermann and Johnson; weed inspectors, Jim Molitor and Brian Zapzalka; Rural Fire Association representatives, Peterson and Piekarski; police service, Peterson and Molitor; and senior center representative, Peterson;

• Set the annual salaries for employees and Council members for 2013: mayor’s salary at $1,800 annually and $15 per hour for special meetings; Council members at $900 annually plus $15 per hour for special meetings; clerk/treasurer salary at $900 monthly and $15 per hour for special meetings; maintenance person Brian Zapzalka at $37,000 annually plus health and disability insurance and three weeks paid vacation; substitute maintenance man salary at $15 per hour; park helper/mower at $9 per hour and cleaning of the community center at $125 per month.

The next meeting of the Swanville City Council is set for Tuesday, Feb. 5.