Ottertail Fire seeks to update grass truck

By Jenna Baker


The Ottertail City Council met on July 15 for its regularly scheduled monthly meeting.

At the meeting, Ottertail Fire Chief Stuart Fleischauer gave an update to the council, noting another busy year for the department including a number of grass fires.

Fleischauer informed the council that the department is needing to update their current brown grass truck, which is 40 years old. He explained that what would be needed is a truck, estimating the cost of which to be $40,000 to $50,000, as well as the water pump and other materials to outfit the truck to serve the purpose needed, which is estimated to cost an additional $40,000 to $50,000.

Funds for this purchase would come from a combination of donations from the Ottertail Lions, Ottertail Rod and Gun Club and others, and what is already in the department’s account. Fleischauer noted that this truck could also be used as a second rescue truck and be operated by one, which is beneficial for calls where fewer responders are available.

Upon discussion, the council approved a motion to seek out bids and quotes for this unit for either new or used equipment totalling up to $100,000. 

Also present at the meeting was Bob Schlieman of Apex Engineering to provide updates to the council on both the status of the Tyler Wohlers Trail project and the water tower monitor and alarm system.

Schlieman noted that the bids for the trail project have a 75-day hold and at the time of the meeting, they were about 30 days into that timeframe. In relation to this project, the council reviewed a letter from the Tyler Wohler’s Group, which stated “with the project cost coming in higher than expected, the Tyler Wohler’s project group would prefer to add this project to the future plan the city has for all walkways and crossings.” 

After some discussion, including mentioning the benefits this trail will have once completed, the council approved a motion to put this project on hold. 

Ottertail Mayor Ron Grobeck will be in communication with a representative of the Tyler Wohler’s Group regarding how best to manage the funds already raised and how to move forward. 

Schlieman also informed the council of the estimated costs for the water tower monitoring and alarm system, explaining that the infrastructure would be held in the fire hall including a new transducer with control panel and wiring. The estimated cost for design and bidding services is $3,800 while the estimated cost for materials and construction is $15,000 to $20,000 with a monthly service fee estimated to be between $50 and $100 per month.

When explaining this system, Schlieman informed the council that they sought out the most bare bones option that still provides the city with the service needed in order to alleviate issues with the water tower levels. He explained that this system will connect with Maintenance Coordinator Justin Lohse’s cell phone and provide alerts if levels get too low or high, along with the ability to easily check the levels from anywhere.

The council unanimously passed a motion to proceed with both the design aspect of the project followed by seeking quotes for materials and construction. 

In other news

• The council passed a motion to advertise a surplus of property to sell the Ottertail Fire Department’s old side-by-side trailer by sealed bids.

• Discussed the need for the Ottertail Post Office to be housed in a larger space. A motion was approved for Mayor Ron Grobeck to serve as a representative for the city in discussions with USPS regarding this need. Grobeck explained that the current space they occupy is approximately 500 square feet and they would ideally like a space of about 1,388 square feet. The city is working with USPS to find another location more suitable with the idea of a new build being an option. 

• A motion was passed to renew the Tri-City website located at