The Moose Lake City Council met on Wednesday, April 10 at 6:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall.
As a result of the flooding of last June, Carlton County has included new language in their Hazard Mitigation Plan. The additions will include property acquisition and flash flooding to allow Carlton County to be eligible for grant funding. The council approved this request.
City Engineer Joe Rhein and Moose Lake Flood Manager Tom Paull gave a report on the plans for moving ahead with repairing 34 of the 58 flood damaged sites. Current understanding of the damage estimates is the primary consideration for the scope of work to be performed. Estimated cost of the repairs is a secondary consideration. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reimbursement to the city is based on actual costs incurred. Therefore, as long as the scope of work performed is within the scope of work authorized by FEMA, the reimbursement will be made to the city based on the actual cost of the work, regardless of the estimated amount. Work will proceed on the selected sites.
There are nine damaged sites where the scope of work between the city and FEMA estimates vary considerably. Supplemental information on these sites was submitted April 1 to FEMA for reconsideration. FEMA representatives will be asked to revisit these sites in an attempt to expedite the process. Updates on these sites will be provided once a response has been received.
City administrator hired
A vote was held approving Pat Oman as the new Moose Lake City Administrator. He will begin his formal duties on May 20. Oman expressed excitement at beginning this new endeavor and is looking forward to serving the community of Moose Lake.
Water cross races set
Dean Weske requested approval from the council to hold water cross races at Lakeside Park. He also requested approval for a beer garden managed by the Moose Lake Municipal Liquor Store and a car show. He described the car show as a showing of the poor man’s Corvette, including rat rods and more. The Scouts will do the flag ceremony at the beginning of the event and will also clean up after the events. The council approved his request. The event will be held on the weekend of June 1 and 2.
Rhein proposed the city apply for a $10 million TED (Transportation Economic Development Program) grant. Applications must be received by April 30. Rhein also stated that the Department of Transportation will require two left turn lanes off of Highway 73 to the new retail area east of ALCO. The monies will be used to construct required turn lanes. A public agency, such as the city of Moose Lake, must apply for the grant, however, the contractor investment will be acceptable as the private funds match for the grant. Decisions of grant allocations will be made by June 6. The council voted to approve the resolution to authorize the grant application.
The council discussed and approved Resolution 13-04-01, Supporting Legislation Authorizing the Establishment of Municipal Street Improvement Districts. This resolution supports enabling legislation that would authorize cities to establish street improvement districts to fund municipal street maintenance, construction and reconstruction. This authority would allow cities to collect fees from property owners within a district to fund municipal street maintenance, construction, and reconstruction and facility upgrades. If enacted, this legislation would provide cities with an additional tool to build and maintain city streets.
Rhein presented information regarding the permit for wastewater, which expires on May 30. Discharge from the Moose Lake Wastewater Treatment Facility ultimately reaches Lake St. Croix. Lake St. Croix was placed on the federal list of impaired waters in 2008 due to excess nutrients. A total maximum daily load (TMDL) study was performed on Lake St. Croix and was approved on August 8, 2012. The TMDL for Lake St. Croix has determined a maximum limit for phosphorous that the Moose Lake facility can discharge. The limit is 684 kilograms (kg) per year. Currently, 3,412 kg/year of phosphorous flows into the Moose Lake facility. The facility partially removes it, but the current limit that flows out of the facility is still 1,235 kg/year. This is nearly twice the limit.
Rhein suggested the city send a proposed compliance letter to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) indicating a five-year plan for meeting the standard.
The other naturally occurring element is mercury. The most common illustration of mercury pollution is an elevated level of mercury in fish. Moose Lake is currently achieving 97 percent removal of mercury from wastewater, which is very good.
Facility upgrades will not be necessary, however, the strategy to address mercury is to reduce the amount that enters the waste stream. This will involve working with those specific users most likely to generate mercury as part of their waste, such as medical and dental facilities.
Homeowners and businesses can help with phosphorous in wastewater by monitoring their detergent ingredients. Washing machines and dishwasher detergents are primary sources of residential waste. The use of lawn fertilizers is also a source of phosphorous.
City sales tax
Councilor Curt Yort reported on the city sales tax endeavor at the Legislature. Mayor Ted Shaw, Yort and Paull testified before the Legislature Tax Committee. The sales tax request is already in a House Bill; this presentation was for the state Senate. Senator Rod Skow, Beltrami, District 2 (DFL), a member of the Senate Tax Committee, spoke up at the meeting and pointed out to committee members that Moose Lake is one of the smaller Minnesota cities impacted by having a state facility within their city limits. He pointed out that small Minnesota cities that have state facilities in them have a significant loss of tax base, which affects their ability meet city needs.
As part of his Eagle Scout endeavor, Darby Hollis presented a proposal for placing barbeque grills in the park and miniature libraries around the city of Moose Lake. He is asking the council for a letter of endorsement for these projects. Hollis also presented this plan to the Park Board and was met with a great deal of enthusiasm. The city council approved his request. Mike Peterson commented, “We are here to better our youth.”
Moose Lake Police Chief Bryce Bogenholm gave his monthly report. He spoke about the stop sign located at Hartman Drive and Jon Brown Drive. He observed that the stop sign was set back too far from the intersection. The stop sign will be moved ahead about 20 feet.
A joint meeting of the Moose Lake Planning Commission and Moose Lake City Council will be held on Tuesday, April 23, at 5 p.m. in the City Council Chambers.
The regular Moose Lake City Council meeting will be held Wednesday, May 8 at 6:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers.