All members of the Ostrander City Council were in attendance on June 5 for a regular meeting (Vernon Thompson, Pam Kunert, Mayor Pat Nesler, City Clerk Wendy Brincks, Heidi Jones and DJ Start). The main topic was the ongoing infrastructure (street) project, and how it is impacting citizens getting to and from their homes and businesses.
Rosie Hilland addressed the council, encouraging citizens to come to the back door of the post office instead of the front door, due to uneven walkways in front caused by the construction project. She said she’s worried that pedestrians may fall out front, and she’s considering closing down the front entrance during the street project. Brian Malm (representing Bolton & Menk) said he’ll talk with the construction foreman about making the walkway more even. Other citizens voiced their concerns or questions about being able to get where they need to go during the project. Council members and Malm suggested options. Malm also reminded citizens that any loss of access during the project should, at worst, only be between the approximate work hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. daily.
The council approved Pay Estimate #2 for the street project, totaling $518,375.03. Malm pointed out that this is for work done through May 15, and said, “They’re moving along. I would say they’re ahead of schedule.” He also pointed out that citizens may occasionally experience temporary water shut-offs during the project, and although citizens will be informed ahead of time whenever possible, there could also be unplanned water shut-offs. He suggested that following a water shut-off, citizens should let their faucets run until clear, since some sediment would likely be noted in tap water at first.
The council also discussed use of ATVs within the city. Deputy Leif Erickson said all ATVs must be registered with the DNR, and all drivers must be legal motorists. There have recently been a number of complaints of improper ATV usage within Ostrander. Deputy Erickson will check to see how Spring Valley addresses these issues. He also encouraged citizens to immediately call if they witness improper driving, including ATVs.
Deputy Leif Erickson submitted a written monthly report of police activity provided to Ostrander by the Fillmore County Sheriff’s department. He said the month of May had a total of 20 calls for service. He also said he recently drove through town to look for unlicensed or unregistered vehicles, and he noted 17 such vehicles. He sent out a total of 13 letters to property owners where those vehicles were seen, and will follow up as needed.
Ann Keim shared renewal options for Ostrander’s insurance coverage. The council chose to increase the deductible to $500, to realize a savings in the premium. She also asked the council to consider the state’s tort limit, as she does every year. As in previous years, the council voted to not waive the tort limit, which means there is a cap to how much the city could be sued for.
The council approved $14,500 for engineering of required ADA upgrades at city hall and the community center. Approval was given for a $16,112.25 billing from Bolton & Menk for the infrastructure project (which is listed as 21% complete), and a $125 bill from Hoversten for city attorney services.
Jeff Tart (Maintenance) updated the council on his work to repair and replace lighting within the city, as needed. The council considered a request for Roto Rooter Map Approval. Malm said he strongly suggests having Roto Rooter wait until next year for flushing the water/sewer lines, because of the infrastructure project. The council consensus was to wait until at least when the lift station is completed.