May 5, 2021, City Council Working Session Meeting Minutes

The Mazeppa City Council working session was called to order at 6:00 PM by Mayor Chris Hagfors.

Pledge of allegiance was said.

Present:             Mayor Chris Hagfors. Councilpersons Mike Hammes, Jeff Nelson, and Erica Young.

Others Present:  City Administrator Clerk Karl Nahrgang, City Engineers Matt Mohs and Kris Swanson, John Clemens, and Henry Betcher.

Absent:            Councilperson Steve Liffrig.

Motion by Nelson, Second by Young to approve the agenda and addendum. All in favor, none opposed.  Carried.

Kris Swanson and Matt Mohs presented findings from Wastewater Treatment Plant Pre-Engineering Report. Several options were presented in the report from doing nothing, $0; to a complete rebuild using improved technology to remove more contaminants, meeting future requirements of what is needed to be removed from water being returned to the river.

Questions asked from Council members and from members of the community that were in attendance:

  • Why is the City exploring this now?  The current plant was last updated in 1988. Part of this update used portions of the existing infrastructure from the 1959 plant construction. Also, part of the consideration for the timing is that the final collection year of the current bond for Cherry Street E, the well, and reservoir is 2024. So, the capacity to pay for a facility upgrade is increased at that time.
  • What financing options are available? At the state level, the Public Financing Administration finances projects. At the Federal level, the City is eligible for U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development funds. USDA funds are approximately 45 – 55% granted funds.
  • What are the options? Do nothing to a complete facility rebuild at approximately 9.4 million dollars. The current trickling filter plant has technology limitations of what it can remove from wastewater. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (licensing entity for wastewater treatment plants in Minnesota) has a high probability of putting more stringent capacity limits on nitrogen and phosphorous that can be returned to surface waters. The current technology will not be able to meet those goals.
  • Is there money already set aside for this project? The City has reserves of approximately 1.7 million dollars. Roughly $850,000 to $900,000 is dedicated to water/sewer projects. The information shared at the meeting that there should be enough reserves set aside for a wastewater treatment plant is a rumor. The City used $170,000 for the west of the river lift station rebuild and loaned $220,000 to the Liquor Store fund for the upgrade to the Liquor Store building. $100,000 of that has been repaid and approximately $145,000 to be repaid. Every year the City deposits the unused repair funds, and the excess revenue from water/sewer collections to City reserves.
  • Why hasn’t this been more publicized? The City has scheduled a public hearing for the May 12, 2021 Council meeting and it has been published in the newspaper and posted at 3 public locations in the community per state regulations.

Mazeppa officials attended a Mazeppa Daze organizing committee meeting. At this time, some events will be scheduled, but others will be dependent on changes in state COVID guidelines between now and mid-June.

Discussion of forming a Parks and Recreation committee and establishing the responsibilities for the group.

Discussion of how much summer park help will be needed.

Discussion of an issue of payment to the former website administrator for content, time, and concept for the City of Mazeppa website.

Discussion of need and rules for a dance permit for the Mazeppa Liquor Store customer appreciation event.

Motion by Hammes, Second by Nelson to recess until 6:00 PM, May 12, 2021 for the regular meeting of the Mazeppa City Council. All in favor, none opposed.  Carried.

Meeting recessed at 7:40 PM.