Fergus Falls Mayor Ben Schierer read a proclamation declaring Sunday, July 26 as a day of recognition for the Americans with Disability Act, which will be celebrating the 30th anniversary of its signing by President George H.W. Bush.

Fergus Falls Mayor Ben Schierer proclaimed Sunday, July 26 as a day of recognition for Americans with a disability during Monday night’s City Council meeting.

President George H.W. Bush signed America’s Disability Act into law on July 26, 1990. The act was proclaimed at the time to be the world’s first comprehensive declaration of equality.

The Fergus Falls City Council approved a resolution acknowledging the resignation and retirement of Rob Skibness after 37 years of service. Asked by Schierer if he had anything to say, Skibness took the opportunity to publicly thank the people of Fergus Falls who have shown faith in him. 

Skibness will retire July 31. He began working for the city Nov. 8, 1983, and after several transfers worked his way into the position of operations manager on June 23, 2014.

The council also approved a resolution to close city landfill SW-184 and approved a professional services agreement with Houston Engineering in the amount of $84,000.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has requested corrective actions and updates at the site. Two types of contaminations have been found on a portion of the site in the past according to Houston Engineering.representatives at Monday’s meeting. The MPCA would like the present extent of the contamination checked. 

In asking for the resolution, Fergus Falls city engineer Brian Yavarow pointed out Houston’s work will first be funded by the city’s Post Closure Assurance Fund. The MPCA has confirmed for Yavarow that the expense to the city will be fully reimbursable.

The council also approved a resolution approving a $126,000 purchase agreement with Zachary and Linda Strand for property at 725 W. Maple Ave.

According to Fergus Falls city administrator, Andrew Bremseth, concerns and complaints at the address verified that during significant rainfall events, there are drainage issues. Interstate Engineering’s preliminary report on storm water drainage in the area did not present the city with practical or financially feasible options. Purchasing the property was seen as the most feasible of the choices.

Another resolution passed will initiate the Alcott Avenue pedestrian crossing project.

The city engineering staff was recently directed to evaluate the feasibility of adding a new pedestrian crossing on Alcott Avenue. The sites found were Westside Drive and/or Martin Street. The estimated cost of construction at Martin Street is $10,100 while the Westside crossing would be $20,800. The council chose the Martin Street project. Councilmember Anthony Hicks, who has lived in the neighborhood, supported the Martin Street proposal based on the amount of foot traffic across Alcott at that intersection.

Yavarow said a portion of the work could be funded through the sidewalk program. 

One of the consent agenda items approved was a resolution accepting a $520 donation from Otter Tail Power. The donation will go toward the purchase of a new automated external defibrillator (AED) unit for use by Fergus Falls police officers. The device is used to help victims of sudden cardiac arrest.

The council heard an update on the capital improvement plan which has been sidetracked by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. A recommendation by Fergus Falls city finance director, Bill Sonmor was to include initiated projects within the 2021 budget while removing the five-year capital improvement plan from the 2021 budget. The council was in general agreement.

“It would seem to make sense to wait until January of 2021,” Schierer said.

The City Council will be resuming Committee of the Whole meetings July 29 at 7 a.m.

The next city council meeting is set for Aug. 3 at 5:30 p.m.

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