City accepts grant to seal unused well

MARSHALL – It was a disappointing thing to do, especially at a time when the city of Marshall is exploring new municipal water sources, city officials and council members said. But it looked like capping a free-flowing well within city limits was the best option available.

At their regular meeting Tuesday night, members of the Marshall City Council approved a grant agreement with the Minnesota Department of Health to seal the well, which is located north of Kossuth Avenue.

Marshall Public Works Director Glenn Olson said the artesian well was left over from the time when a rendering plant was located in the area. The well discharges about 50 gallons of water per minute into the city storm sewer and ultimately the Redwood River, he said.

“I hate capping a well when we’re looking for water,” Olson said, but it didn’t look like the city had other options. The water couldn’t be allowed to continue flowing into the storm sewer. But the well would be at risk of freezing up in the winter if the city decided to use the water, he said.

The task of sealing the well was originally included with the recent Kossuth Avenue street reconstruction project, but Olson said the well’s condition meant it would be a job more expensive than first estimated. The grant agreement with the state health department would provide a maximum of $50,000 to help seal the well.

Council members voted to accept the grant agreement.

“I don’t think we have any choice but to do this, sad as it is,” said council member Larry Doom.

Later in the meeting, council members approved another step forward in the implementation of local sales taxes passed in November. Marshall City Financial Director Tom Meulebroeck presented the council with an agreement between the city and the Minnesota Department of Revenue to collect the .5 percent general sales tax and 1.5 percent prepared food and beverage tax. The Department of Revenue already collects state sales taxes from local businesses and would also be equipped to collect the local taxes.

Meulebroeck said under the agreement, the Department of Revenue would be responsible for collecting the taxes and then give the money back to the city, minus a percentage to reimburse the state for its services.

A local lodging tax was also included in the tax measures voters approved in November. However, Meulebroeck said that tax will be collected by the city and not the Department of Revenue. Marshall already collects local taxes on lodging, and a smaller number of businesses are affected, he said.

The council had a public hearing on a planned water, sewer and street reconstruction project on West Lyon Street and North 7th Street and approved a motion to advertise for bids on the project. Olson said the project would affect West Lyon Street between 6th Street and the Burlington Northern railroad property and North 7th Street between West Main Street and West Marshall Street. He said the project will address issues with water main breaks in the area, and update storm and sanitary sewer lines.

The city and MMU will each cover some of the cost of the project, Olson said. The maximum amount that homeowners would be assessed for the construction would be $5,500. Olson said properties assessed for an earlier reconstruction project on 6th Street would have those assessments credited against the ones from the new project.