By Lois E. Johnson
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

New meters this week


October 31, 2019

The new meters will begin to be installed the week of Oct. 28, reported Superintendent Harlan Schmeling at the meeting of the Moose Lake Water and Light Commission on Tuesday, Oct. 22.

“The installation of one-third of the new meters will take two weeks,” he added.

The power lines over Highway 73 (Arrowhead Lane) to MarketPlace Foods is slated for removal.

“When the contractor has completed the move of the sewer line the crew will finish installing new underground power lines,” it was stated on Schmeling’s report.

The sewer line and power lines are being moved because a new addition on the south side of the grocery store is under construction.

Sally Iund reported that the completion of the power company’s website was delayed. It has been said that customers of the commission would be able to pay their power bills online but that option has been delayed.

There was considerable discussion about combining some of the duties that are duplicated by both the city and the commission staff.

Commissioner Keith Carlson has said in the past that he wanted to determine if there was a cost savings in combining the duties of the staff members of both the city and the commission.

“We would basically be paying the city for doing functions for us,” said Carlson. “If it will not be open and conclusive, why go down this road?”

In the discussion, City Administrator Tim Peterson said that the two commission office personnel would become employees of the city and be managed by him.

“They would no longer be employees of the commission,” he said. “I would make the suggestion to the council that they be city employees.”

Peterson added that wages from the MMUA (Minnesota Municipal Utilities Association) wage study and the League of Minnesota Cities wage study would be considered and a recommendation made based on that information. Other benefits would also be presented with the recommendation.

Commissioner Curt Yort said, “We would have no say in the valuation of the employees.”

“Your valuation is over the results of the product,” Peterson replied. “You wouldn’t have any valuation over the day-to-day activities of the employees. The city administrator would monitor their behaviors.”

Carlson pointed out that the commission needs a CPA (certified public accountant).

“If we hire a CPA, we are adding to our cost,” he said. “There are two across the street. It’s about quality improvement and cost control. I would like to move forward.”

A motion was passed to meet with the city council in a working meeting to discuss the proposal.

Peterson pointed out that the council has no authority in making the decision.

“It is entirely up to the commission,” he said.

In other business, the commission approved the low bid to install the voltage regulators at the north substation from Parsons Electric in the amount of $96,669. The project will be completed in the spring, it has been said.

The commission also agreed to a request to provide lights at an outdoor skating rink at Riverside Arena. It was said that members of the South Polar Hockey Association will assist with the installation.

The next meeting of the commission was set for Tuesday, Nov. 19, at 3 p.m.


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