By Lori Newman
The Deer Creek City Council held its regular monthly meeting on Aug. 23.
New York Mills Police Officer Tyler Schwartz gave the police report for July, and told the council that the police department is still looking to hire more part-time officers.
The council approved a contract with S and S Security Services for a camera monitoring system to be installed at the Deer Creek Community Center.
The council reviewed and approved a list of proposed policies for camping at the Lions’ Shelter Park. Under the new policies, reservations will not be required; sites will be available for free on a first-come, first-served basis. However, the maximum length of stay will be seven days within a 30 day period, and after that the fee will be $30 per day. A list of campground rules covering minors, pets, alcohol, fires, trash, quiet hours and other matters will be posted at the shelter.
The council reviewed, discussed and approved the proposed net property tax levy payable in 2022. The amount is close to the 10 percent maximum increase allowed by the state, because funds are needed for upcoming water system repair and maintenance projects.
The council approved a contract proposal with Bolton and Menk Engineering Services to begin preparing for the water tower and well house projects. Engineering specialists will identify and evaluate the location, size and condition of the water system components. The findings will be summarized along with recommended improvements, cost estimates and funding opportunities that may exist.
The council also reviewed, discussed and approved a four-year maintenance agreement with Johnson Jet-Line for sewer cleaning and pipe inspection, noting that this service can often pay for itself by helping prevent costly repairs.
City Clerk/Treasurer Tom Parish informed the council that the city received a letter from the MN Department of Natural Resources about the extreme drought conditions in the state. Public water suppliers are being asked to implement water use reduction actions. Recommendations include limiting non-essential outdoor water use such as lawn irrigation, car washing, and power washing of buildings.
Residents are also asked to fix leaks, take shorter showers, do fewer and more water-efficient laundry loads, and fill pans for washing and rinsing dishes and produce instead of letting the tap run. Parish will mail a letter that further explains these matters to city water customers.
Parish will also send city residents a letter about the Low Income Household Water Assistance Program that is available through COVID-19 funding to help people pay their water and sewer bills. Applications will be accepted starting in September.
Parish reported that the city has received funds from the Federal American Rescue Plan and this money will likely be used for the water system projects.
The council also received an update from Parish about progress being made on the Wellhead Protection 2021-2030 Annual Work Plan. Maps of the drinking water supply management area and letters about the Wellhead Protection Plan have been sent to city and county agencies involved.
The council discussed repair of the alley behind the community center, and decided to ask for bids on tearing out the old asphalt, adding more gravel, grading and leveling the area and replacing the asphalt.
The council also discussed dust control on city streets. Councilors agreed this should be done and it would not be overly expensive whether the city paid for it or the cost was split with residents. However application of the dust-control substances is most effective when done in he spring.
The council discussed a potential new property owner’s questions about construction of a storage shed type house, and whether horses were allowed within the city limits. Council members felt both would be all right within some areas, but city water and sewer might not be available at this time to the property in question.
Councilor Jayme George reported that Adam Arneson has applied for membership to the Deer Creek Fire and Rescue Department, and the council gave their approval.
George also informed the council that the Deer Creek Shockers baseball team would like to build a batting cage at the ball park in town. The council approved the project, which will be paid for by the baseball team.
Councilor Bob Lund expressed concern over some materials that were dumped at the compost site.
Mayor Troy Beiswenger reported that a door in the community center needs repair. The council also discussed the possible need for a new air conditioner and a new furnace in the community center.