Well, this is blog post number two, and I’m already going to try something new. I want to get it to a place where it’s a little shorter and more concise, but I will also be having a featured topic of interest. So, if you have ideas about a topic related to the City you want more details about, please let me know! My email is firstname.lastname@example.org, and my phone number is 507-593-8312.
6/26/2017 City Council Meeting Recap
June 26th was a very good City Council meeting, and we continued to make progress on the City Council established goals. The one we are tackling at the moment consists of an analysis of the Le Sueur Community Center. The City Council chose Springsted to perform this analysis which will consist of looking at the organizational structure, the funding sources, and the market conditions in the region. This study will help assist the City Council in making decisions about the Le Sueur Community Center shortly. Part of this project will consist of a community survey, which I cannot stress enough is very important to participate in so that we receive as much information about what the expectations are from the community regarding the Le Sueur Community Center.
2017 Street and Utilities Improvement Project
City staff, Wm. Mueller, and Sons, utility providers, and emergency personnel participated in a preconstruction meeting for the Second Street Reconstruction project on June 29th. Wm. Mueller and Sons was awarded the contract to perform this work, and they provided the City a preliminary construction schedule. The work on Second Street will be broken into two phases; phase one consists of Maple Street, Church Street, Grove Street, and the northernmost two blocks of Second Street. We will start seeing more activity out there around July 17th, so please be cautious around the workers and be patient. Phase two which consists of Oak Street, Swan Street, and the southernmost three blocks of Second Street is proposed to start on August 14th. The mill and overlay portion of the improvements are proposed to start after Labor Day and will take about a week to complete. This project starts on Fourth Street and Ferry Street and terminates at Fourth Street and Maag Street.
Downtown Master Planning Project
The Downtown Master Planning Project continues to move forward on schedule. Please take a moment and fill out a survey regarding the area HERE.
You can follow the project page HERE.
The Streets Division is out and about patching the proposed seal coat area. We will be receiving quotes for this project and will have them finalized early next week. We will also be doing some crack sealing work and also fog sealing our trail. The Streets Division is also mowing right-of-way areas and spraying gutter lines for weeds.
The Water/Wastewater Division continues to do good work around town. They are jetting our sanitary sewer lines which are a required maintenance item that helps us avoid backups in our system. You may see some discoloration in your toilets because of this, but it’s a good thing that helps our system continue to work.
Since the hydrant valves were worked, we have a list of hydrant repairs that are taking place, along with continued painting.
As you can imagine, we see some odd things down at the Wastewater Treatment Plant. Today one of our influent (incoming waste) pumps had an RV hose tangled up in it, and we had to pull it to repair. Pretty interesting!
The Electric Division is continuing work on the 400 block of Park Lane. The group also addressed an underground fault by Sunset Circle, and two other outages caused by squirrel vs. transformer altercations. Seasonal help is painting electrical boxes that need a little TLC.
Sam DiMaggio is currently at the EDAM (Economic Development Association of Minnesota) Summer Conference, keeping up with trends and changes regarding Economic Development in Minnesota. Sam continues to meet with business owners in the community, and if you’d like to reach out her, please send an email.
Parks and Recreation
The U6 Soccer season ended on Monday with parents vs. kids day. Pretty interesting, I don’t know who won, but likely the kids. T-Ball also finished up this week, capped off by an ice cream social donated by The Friendly Confines Cheese Shoppe. Work at the Cedar Ridge Trails playground continues and will likely wrap up in a couple of weeks. The “Funbrella” was installed in the wading pool, which was made possible through support from the Treasures in Town Thrift Store.
The facility team is continuing to work on summer maintenance projects but has also made really good progress on establishing the airport boundaries. This work consists of placing a post along the property boundary every 75 feet.
Utility Billing History
Staff has met with a group of citizens, elected officials, and city staff to review and “tell the story” about the utility rates in Le Sueur and how we got where we are today. As everyone knows, things typically get expensive as time goes on, and that is the case and expected with utility rates. The cost of construction, materials, labor, and other aspects of operations increase, and so have our utility bills in Le Sueur. I have compiled a document that breaks down the utilities that Le Sueur provides. One section of the document compares Le Sueur with other communities similar in size and similar in geographic location. The other section of the document looks at the history of Le Sueur utility rates from 2001 – 2017. Take a look at the document, and I hope it helps show what has occurred in Le Sueur over time.
The City of Le Sueur’s electric utility provides service around the median cost for similar communities. The electric kWh (kilowatt hour) charge also includes a franchise fee of 0.00377/kWh. This franchise fee was established in 2009 and helps supplement the general fund, keeping property taxes more stable.
The City of Le Sueur provides water to its citizens at a very low cost compared to other communities similar in size and similar in geographic location. Rates have not been adjusted since 2009, but our current water staff is evaluating deferred maintenance that needs to be addressed to ensure that the City can provide uninterruptible water service to the citizens and businesses of Le Sueur at a low cost. City Council will be evaluating this aspect of the water utility rates during the 2018 budget adoption process.
The Wastewater Division of the City of Le Sueur has had the most change over the past 16 years evaluated in this utility billing analysis. This is mainly because of one thing; the construction of a new Wastewater Treatment Facility. New technology is always expensive, and when you pair that with new permit treatment levels, these plants become very sophisticated systems that utilize science and technology to ensure that the water being discharged from the plant doesn’t have adverse environmental effects to the historic Minnesota River. That being said, the City of Le Sueur has had to adjust rates very aggressively since 2013, going from a charge of $6.72/1,000 gallons to $13.50/1,000 gallons, more than doubling that charge. This is due to bond obligations that the City needs to meet that are tied to the construction of the plant. There have been some very positive movement regarding this fund over the past year, and there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but that likely won’t happen for another five years. The wastewater fund had to borrow funds from other groups within the City, and they need to pay that back. Likely wastewater treatment costs to residents will stay fairly stable until these obligations are met.
If you have questions about your utility rates, I’d be more than happy to discuss them with you and go through these items in more detail.
Well, this was still somewhat long, and I hope if you made it this far, you’re still interested. I’d like to wish everyone a happy and safe Fourth of July, enjoy the weather, time with friends, family, or whoever you choose to be around. Soon we’ll be shoveling our sidewalks and driveways, bundled up from the changing of the seasons.