City: Potholes will be fixedPublished 10:58am Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Public Works Director Anne Martens beat Mayor Hal Leland to the punch during the new business portion of the Fergus Falls City Council meeting Monday when it came to discussing the pot hole situation in town.
“We were going to leave that until last,” Leland said, with a laugh. “We’re in pot hole season. I think our street crews are doing a marvelous job.”
Martens said they’ve received several calls about pot holes in town. They are working on the pavement projects for this coming year, she said. Some of the work involved includes looking at the utilities underground as well as the pavement on the surface. A recommendation will come to the council soon, Martens said.
“We’re well aware of it,” Martens said, of the pot holes popping up on the streets. “We are working on it.”
Pot hole patching has already begun. Crews were out more than a week ago patching them up. However, there are temperature criteria for the patching machines that need to be followed, Martens said. Permanent patching will take place in May.
Of course, added moisture, like the fresh coating of snow the city just got, doesn’t help either.
“It just adds havoc to the pot holes that are already there,” Martens said.
Council supports street districts
The Fergus Falls City Council offered up its support for an initiative that would allow the cities across the state to create street improvement districts. It would allow cities to collect fees from property owners within a district to fund municipal street maintenance, construction, reconstruction and facility upgrades.
“Another tool in our tool chest for options for funding,” said Public Works Director Anne Martens.
The initiative from the League of Minnesota Cities was introduced in the Minnesota House Feb. 20 and Senate Feb. 21. It would make it possible for property owners to fund expensive projects by paying relatively small fees over time, according to the League of Minnesota Cities.
“It just lets you work on specific streets or specific areas, but spread the cost over a larger area,” said City Engineer Dan Edwards.
Mayor Hal Leland said the initiative offers some flexibility. The districts also would not replace special assessments. The size of a district would also go to the council, to decide how it would like to distribute the district, said City Attorney Rolf Nycklemoe.
The council passed a motion of support for the initiative by a 5-1 vote, with Randy Synstelien voting against it; he said he didn’t see the benefits of street improvement districts. Council members Jim Fish and Tim Rundquist were absent Monday.
Should it pass at the state level, cities are not required to create street improvement districts.