David Watkins named Water/Wastewater Superintendent

Mountain Lake City Council confers with Andy Kehren on trio of issues


New ML city council 1
THE MOUNTAIN LAKE City Council. Seated front, from left, Council Member Dana Kass, Mayor Mike Nelson and Council Member Darla Kruser. Standing back, Council Member Andrew Ysker, left and Council Member David Savage, right.


At the Monday, October 2 meeting of the Mountain Lake City Council, its members approved the hiring of Water/Wastewater employee David Watkins to serve as its superintendent, effective the following day (Tuesday, October 3). The hiring was at Step 4, Public Works I, contingent on the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding regarding step placement. Watkins replaces Kevin Krahn, who is retiring in December.

The hiring move was made after a closed meeting, pursuant to Minnesota Statutes 179.01-179A.25, was held to review the current American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) contract in light of a union member request.

The council then directed Mountain Lake City Administrator/Clerk Wendy Meyer to fill the open Water/Wastewater employee position.

City Engineer Andy Kehren provides info on trio of topics

City Engineer Andy Kehren of Bolton & Menk Inc. was at the meeting and provided information to council members on three different topics:

  • Kehren reviewed the first partial payment request by G. M. Contracting of Lake Crystal for work at the Mountain Lake Commercial Park. The council approved the payment of $278,232.68.
  • He also led a discussion on bringing water and sewer to the proposed Dollar General site on Cottonwood County Road #27/Third Avenue. The Utility Commission is currently considering providing financial assistance to the company, which may require city council approval.
  • Kehren responded to a question posed by Rich Gisch of the Mountain Lake/Odin/Ormsby Sportsmen’s Club concerning the review and approval by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) of the Trap Range agreement between the city and the club. He stated that the draft lease had been provided to the MPCA and was still under review. Both Kehren and Mountain Lake City Attorney Maryellen Suhrhoff spoke of the importance of notifying the MPCA whenever any action with the potential of impacting the city’s water and sewer systems is under consideration.
In other business

+ Approved the resignation of Jon Gerdes from Mountain Lake Fire & Rescue, effective September 25.

+ Agreed that the city should participate in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and directed Cottonwood County Emergency Management Director Paul Johnson and Administrator Meyer to being the process. Cottonwood County is updating its flood insurance rate maps (FIRM). It was while updating that Johnson learned that Mountain Lake does not currently participate in the NFIP, therefore residents cannot purchase federally-subsidized flood insurance. To enroll, the city must first apply, then adopt a resolution stating its intent to participate and lastly, adopt an ordinance that complies with federal and state NFIP standards. State law says that the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) must approve the draft ordinance before it is adopted.

+ Addressed the nuisance property at 805 Basinger Memorial Drive. Curt Fast will be purchasing the property. At its Monday, September 18 meeting, the council had agreed that it would defer an attachment from a well closing for two years, and waive it if the house is rehabbed to its satisfaction by October 2, 2019. Council members approved that move at this meeting.

+ Authorized the submission of grant applications to the Odell Wind Farm Community Fund for Mountain Lake Fire & Rescue turn-out gear, Mountain Lake Ambulance Service radios, Mountain Lake Economic Development Authority (EDA) “Welcome” signs – and to serve as fiscal agents for two Chamber grants – Christmas at the Village and the Christmas street light project – if awarded.

+ Authorized a change order following delivery of a new ambulance for the Mountain Lake Ambulance Service to upgrade the vehicle’s suspension if needed, at a cost not to exceed $8,000. Tim Janzen, representing the service, explained to the council that there is interest in updating the suspension system of the ambulance currently being manufactured, but that the group wants to wait until it is delivered and used to determine if the suspension is satisfactory, or should be upgraded.

+ Adopted the city’s Snow Removal Policy after a brief review. No changes were requested.

+ Adopted the updated Active Living Plan. The plan that was first adopted in 2015 has been revised with new goals and strategies added, along with completed ones noted. Prior to council action, the Active Living Committee had reviewed and approved the changes.

+ Reviewed the list of properties that have received Public Nuisance warning letters, and in some cases, tickets. Attorney Suhrhoff and Mountain Lake Police Chief Doug Bristol answered questions and explained action taken on some of the properties listed. Two properties not listed – 58571 Cottonwood County Road #27 and 1903 Third Avenue – were also discussed.

+ Reviewed and discussed Cash and Investment Fund Balances. Additional information will be provided for the next council meeting.

+ Reviewed the pay request by Farabee Mechanical of Hickman, Nebraska, for Partial Pay Estimate #3 for sub-station construction work. Following review, the council approved the $164,718.90 payment.

+ Reviewed and approved the job description and job advertisement for Ice Rink Warming House attendant.

+ Directed Administrator Meyer to get a cost estimate of the equipment needed to broadcast council meetings over Facebook.

+ Learned that the front door replacement for the Mountain Lake Community Center has not yet been received.

+ Agreed that the next “Coffee with the Council” be tentatively scheduled for Friday, November 17, 12 noon, at The Laker, with Kruser and Ysker in attendance.

+ The next city council meeting will be Monday, October 16, 6:30 p.m., in the Mountain Lake City Council Chambers.

2017 meeting schedule

Council meetings will be held on the traditional first and third Mondays of the month – with the exception of:

  • The second meeting in June had been rescheduled to Thursday, June 22 due to the annual Pow Wow celebration.
  • Both July meetings were rescheduled to the Fourth of July on Tuesday, July 4. The first meeting of the month will be Monday, July 10 and the second, July 24.
  • The first meeting in September has been shifted to Tuesday, September 5 due to the observance of Labor Day on Monday, September 4.
  • New dates have been scheduled for both meetings in December due to local school holiday events. The first meeting of the month will be on Tuesday, December 5 and the  second on Tuesday, December 19.
  • Meeting start times are 7 p.m.
City of Mountain Lake Meeting Dates

+ Mountain Lake City Council meets the first and third Mondays of every month at 7 p.m.

+ Utilities Commission meets the second and fourth Thursdays of every month at 7 a.m.

+ Economic Development Authority (EDA) meets the second Friday of every month at 12 noon.

+ Lake Commission meets the second Monday of every month at 6:30 p.m.

+ Library Board meets the second Wednesday of every month at 4:45 p.m.

+ Police Commission meets the second Thursday of every month at 7 p.m.

+ Planning and Zoning meets the last Monday of the month, if needed.

+ Tree Commission meets quarterly – January, April, July and October – at 7:45 p.m.

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