Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Bethany Helwig
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Moose Lake approves city water project

Project to build new wells and wellhouse, repair water tower estimated to cost $2.6 million


January 16, 2020

Bethany Helwig

As part of the project, the old wellhouse on Douglas Avenue is slated to be demolished and the open water main there sealed over permanently.

The Moose Lake City Council approved to move ahead with a plan to construct two new wells and a new wellhouse for the city's water supply at their regular meeting on January 8. The project, presented by the City's engineers from SEH, also includes demolishing and sealing up the old wellhouse on Douglas Avenue, appropriately abandoning/capping the well at the Douglas Avenue location, and reconditioning the inside and doing an exterior overcoat of the water tower. The projected estimate total came to $2.6 million which includes about $300,000 of contingency funds. However, city engineers stated they should have more detailed and precise estimates in March.

"It's not so much a matter of if it needs to get done," said City Administrator Tim Peterson. "It 100% needs to get done. The building that is existing, there is a potential to save some amount of money, and it would be very small, to rehab that building. It would be a huge pain in the butt. It would still need to get expanded for any additional chemicals needed and quite frankly that building is awful."

Doug Juntunen pointed out that the current wells are 74 and 65 years old, and asked what the average life expectancy of a well is.

Engineer Wallis stated, "If you were to ask me a rule of thumb for a well we installed today, I'd say 50–60 years."

Constructing the wells would be the first phase, aiming for the new wellhouse to be up and weatherproofed by this fall, and everything online by early 2021. Work on the water tower would most likely occur during the summer of 2021.

The city will be conducting a rate study in the near future to look at funding the project.

The regular meeting was the last for City Administrator Tim Peterson, who had accepted the position of city administrator in Cloquet. His last day was January 10. Mayor Ted Shaw presented a plaque to Administrator Peterson as thanks for his years of service. At an earlier special meeting of the council, Katie Bloom, the current Deputy Clerk and Finance Director, was appointed as Interim City Administrator. The council also approved the use of Sharon Klumpp of Baker Tilly to conduct the process of hiring a permanent city administrator.

The council accepted the resignation of Police Chief Bryce Bogenholm. Mike McNulty will continue in his capacity as Interim Police Chief.

Public Works Superintendent Phil Entner stated city workers have been working hard on clearing roads after the heavy storms that recently hit the area. However, salt prices are currently high and on a single day they spread 55 tons of salt. He also wanted to remind the public to be careful driving around snow plows and be aware that plows may back up, so remain alert. He stated they had a couple of close calls but thankfully no accidents.

A proposal to update the current cable equipment was presented by Bill, using money from the Mediacom franchise fee (which can only be used for public access). The equipment the city maintains right now is no longer in production so if a piece fails, they will not be able to replace it. The new technology proposed would allow streaming over the internet and improved quality of the public cable channel. The council put off making a decision until the next meeting to allow more time to look at all funding options available.


At the previous meeting on December 11, the council voted to increase the 2020 water rates by 3%.

The 2020 tax levy was set at $683,665.

Officer Ray Couture has started full time with the Moose Lake Police Department.

Blue Santa helped 38 kids from 14 different families. Interim Chief McNulty and Cathy delivered to three of the families as they did not have the means to come to the night of the hand out.

The police department handled 2,049 calls in 2019.

The council approved lending the wireless microphone system to the Historical Society with the understanding that the system may also be used by others using the Depot building.

A motion was passed to purchase a new skate sharpener.

The council approved a temporary liquor license to Moose Lake Brewing for the Ice Bocce event on February 8, 2020.

A motion passed to purchase the third and final new truck for the Public Works Department, which had been budgeted for.


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