Council updated on Inman St. project

By Chad Koenen


Approximately 20 years after opening its doors, the Henning Water Treatment Plant is in need of some updates. 

During its regularly scheduled meeting last week, the Henning City Council heard from Bob Schliemann, of Apex Engineering, about the water treatment plant. Schliemann presented two proposals for the facility that included either constructing a new water treatment facility for $8.9 million, or rehabbing the current facility for $3.36 million.

The costs were a bit higher than was presented in the past as Schliemann said city staff has identified additional items that should be included in the project to help the facility last another 20 years. The additional items total approximately $1.3 million.

“As Ted and his staff continue to get to know this facility there are things that continue to come up that it’s like ‘hey if we are going to do this project and get it to where we want it to be to get by for the next 20 years these items should probably be included as well,’” said Schliemann.

Though the city has not sought funding and grant options for the project to date, Schliemann said he is optimistic that the city will receive some PFA funding to help offset the cost.

In the past, the city council has approved moving forward with rehabbing the water treatment facility, something they expressed an interest in doing once again last week. However, the city council said it would like the finance committee to look at the costs associated with the project to compare the city’s portion of the project both with and without PFA funding. 

In other news

• Approved a recommendation to add three projects to the Inman St. and Main Wastewater Lift Station improvement project, pending a recommendation from the finance committee. The change order includes providing water service for the new Pro Ag facility in the Industrial Park, a new sanitary sewer on Hipple Ave. from Marshall Ave. to the east and sanitary sewer on Hipple Ave. from Douglas Ave. to the west. The total cost of the project was estimated to be $251,481, which could be funded, in part by a CD from the utility department. Prior to moving forward, city council member Jesse Hermanson said he would like the finance committee to take a look at the proposals. 

• Approved getting rid of a limit of three on-sale liquor licenses in the city limits. All liquor licenses need to be approved by the city council and the city learned that many communities in the area do not have a limit on how many on-sale liquor licenses are available in the city limit. The on-sale liquor licenses pertain to bars and restaurants.

• Approved a request from the Henning Haunted House to apply for a grant from the Moen Brothers/Astera Health to help with funding for an all-ability playground equipment. Jessica Strege said the installation of the playground equipment will be done by volunteers of the Henning Haunted House. 

• Approved $6,000 plus any closing costs or fees to purchase land on the corner of Hipple Ave. and Highway 108. 

• Discussed an increase in the natural gas rate to $10 per month for a base rate and $10 per mcf. The current base rate is $6 per month and $8.85 per pcf. The increase would be 13 percent over the current rate, but would still be slightly lower than Battle Lake and Perham. The increase could generate between $2,000-12,000 in additional revenue per month in revenue. The city has already increased its water, sewer and electric rates earlier this year. The council asked for different options that could charge commercial and residential users at a different rate. 

• Heard the Henning Ambulance Service has responded to approximately 230 calls so far this year and are averaging about one call per day.

• Approved a maintenance plan for the plants that will be planted as part of the Highway 108 project next year. The city council heard from MnDOT representatives about the need for the city to maintain the plants and planters for two years once the items are installed. MnDOT will install the plants and plant the actual items, but not maintain them. Representatives from the Highway 108 beautification committee said they would be willing to water and maintain the plants for two years. 

• Discussed increasing the on-call pay for members of the Henning Ambulance Service from $1.50 per hour to $3 per hour. Henning Ambulance Service Director Chelsea Waskosky said it has been approximately 10 years since the on-call pay has been increased. She also suggested increasing the loaded patient charge to help increase funding for the ambulance service. The proposed increases will be brought forward and discussed by the finance committee.