The Langdon City Commission conducted business relating to proposed projects for the benefit of the city at their most recent meeting.
Posted on 4/2/16
By Melissa Anderson
Prior to discussion on the projects, Langdon City Attorney Quentin Wenzel gave a final presentation for the ballot language that will appear for residents to vote on the proposed city ordinance that would allow the city to enter into an agreement with Northeast Regional Water District (NRWD) for providing water to the city. The commission approved the ballot language pending a few changes.
Wenzel then gave an update regarding the informational meetings regarding the proposed water project with NRWD. Moore Engineering and Advanced Engineering and Environmental Services (AE2S) will be providing information on the project and secondary options should the water project with NRWD be voted down. The meeting has been scheduled for April 21 at 6:30 p.m. and will be at the Langdon Research and Extension Center.
The commission then had a presentation regarding the project for the city infrastructure from Andrew Aakre of Moore Engineering. Aakre informed the commission that Moore is nearing the end of preliminary work on the reports that will be used by Moore when they start the application process for funding options for the first phase of addressing the aging sewer and water systems in Langdon.
Aakre stated that the first phase would include televising the entire City of Langdon sewer and water systems to determine the viability of the pipelines and which areas needed to be addressed immediately. Other aspects of phase one include replacing gate valves at certain locations, removing the lift station at 5th Street, and addressing the areas where the sewer system freezes during winter.
Aakre stated that with all this proposed work, the original target of a $5 million project has now gone up to an almost $10 million dollar project. Aakre then went over the city’s finances and debt services and stated that while the city is in good financial shape, current debts would need to be paid off freeing up roughly $260,000 to make payments on the proposed project.
Moore Engineering presented the different options regarding the water project and the costs that would be incurred for each project along with the proposed infrastructure projects. Aakre stated that should the project with NRWD be voted down and the city choose to not go forward with a new water source, the transmission line from Mt. Carmel to the city would need to be repaired at a cost of $500,000.
Kent Ritterman of Moore Engineering addressed the commission and stated that the funding for a project like this is there and that the USDA Rural Development would be the preferred source for funding.
Commissioner Marty Tetrault stated that while the cost was sizable, the city cannot keep “band-aiding” the infrastructure as it has been doing. Commissioner Jim Radamacher agreed but cautioned that the commission needs to think of how the project can be funded locally without hurting the citizens. Commissioner Cody Schlittenhard suggested that the city should wait to make a decision until after the water project has been decided by vote in June.
After further discussion the commission approved the motion to have Moore continue moving forward with the project, finding and applying for funding. The commission requested that Moore bring solid numbers on the impact this project would have on city residents’ utility bills.
Mark Lambrecht of AE2S gave an update on the street project. He stated that he was up to view the streets and was happy to report that due to the easy spring, the condition of the streets was similar to those recorded in the fall. Lambrecht stated that AE2S would like to work with Moore on sharing information regarding the streets and infrastructure so that the two firms do not have overlapping or gaps in their information. With shared information, AE2S can avoid proposing street projects that would conflict with infrastructure projects.
The street project can go hand-in-hand with the infrastructure project as much of the funding for infrastructure also has line items for replacement of the streets above. Lambrecht stated that a city-wide street project would cost around $9 million and that while there were not many funding options, there were a few.
The commission agreed with Lambrecht and stressed that they did want the two firms to work together by sharing information on the two separate projects to the benefit of the city.
In Other Business
• Craig Swenson requested information on water bill charges for apartment buildings. The commission will be sending a letter of explanation as well as the city ordinance relating to that.
• Jesse Breyer submitted a complaint about a dog that is always off leash. The commission stated that they would look into having a Sheriff’s deputy deliver a letter to the owner regarding the issue and listing further actions the city could take should the owner not comply with the city ordinance regarding leash laws.
• Commissioner Marty Tetrault provided information on a road patching machine that could greatly benefit the city in maintaining roads. Langdon City Superintendent Rob Gilseth was not present at the meeting but had discussed the machine with Tetrault and was in favor of the city acquiring it. The commission agreed to a short term lease to test out the machine.