Council hears MMU request for water main

MARSHALL – On Tuesday night, members of the Marshall City Council got a look at one part of the plan to tap a third water source for the city. Council members approved a request by Marshall Municipal Utilities to enter into an agreement to help build a pipeline bringing the water to town.

Jeff Larson, water superintendent at MMU, gave council members a brief history of the project, which would bring water in from an aquifer in Sandness Township in Yellow Medicine County. Planning and getting permits for the new well field is a process that’s taken more than 10 years, Larson said. Now, MMU has hired an engineering firm to design and locate a water main connecting the well field to municipal facilities.

Larson showed council members a planned route for the water line, which would run south from the new well field to the MMU water facilities along Minnesota Highway 23. Larson said the completed line would stretch a total distance of more than 27 miles between the well field and Marshall. However, Tuesday’s request focused only on land within Marshall. Part of the water main would pass through city-owned land, first near the Marshall industrial park and then following near the path of the Redwood River diversion channel.

Larson said the exact location of the main would depend on factors like land elevation, riverbanks and underground drainage tiles. MMU was requesting an agreement where it would work together with the city to finalize the route and easements for the water main.

Larson said MMU had considered a route that would follow Minnesota Highway 23 through Marshall. But while that route would be shorter, he said, building the water main in an already heavily developed area would be more difficult and more expensive.

Larson said the project would cost an estimated $12.7 million to $14.3 million.

Council members voted to enter an agreement with MMU to find a route and easements for the water main.

The council also approved the sale of about $3.64 million in general obligation bonds for 2013. Terri Heaton, of financial advisory company Springsted, said that amount was a total of three different bonds, which would be used to fund city improvement projects and replace capital equipment. A bond of $1.09 million would go toward street improvement projects. A second bond of $1.69 million would go toward improvements at the Marshall airport, and a third bond of $860,000 would go toward items like vehicle and equipment replacements and city bridge projects.

Heaton said the bonds would have a term of 10 years and an estimated 2.19 percent interest rate. However, Heaton said, interest rates have gone through some fluctuations this year.

Some ongoing items of business also came back before the council. In spite of the council’s recent discussion of drafting an ordinance to allow special vehicle permits, a Marshall resident’s request for a permit was denied. There’s still no updated ordinance on the books, council members said.

Robert Gaalswyk of Marshall had applied for a permit to drive a utility vehicle on Cadillac Drive and Continental Street between his home and Lyon County Road 67. Marshall Mayor Bob Byrnes said council members had come to a consensus about allowing UTVs during a work session in May.

“What’s being requested here would fit that description,” Byrnes said.

Council member Mike Boedigheimer countered that the city Legislative and Ordinance Committee hasn’t been through the process of drafting the new ordinance yet. The city can’t approve a vehicle permit before a rule for it is in place.

“That’s not the way it should be done,” Boedigheimer said. He moved to deny the permit.

The motion passed 4-1, with Byrnes voting against.

Council members gave final approval for planned 1.5 percent city sales taxes on lodging and prepared food and beverages. However, that approval is contingent on one last examination by an attorney.

At the council’s last regular meeting, council member Glenn Bayerkohler had asked for more time to read through a resolution giving final approval for the tax. After having read through it, he said he had some concerns. The resolution didn’t include an end date for when the tax would be in effect.

“This is a statutory requirement,” Bayerkohler said. The city’s draft ordinances on the tax included an end date. Bayerkohler said he’d move to accept the resolution, provided an attorney reviews it to make sure it follows state law, and adds the end date if need be. That motion passed unanimously.

The lodging, food and beverage tax is set to take effect on or before July 1.