Wyoming Council clears way for Polaris expansion

Company plans 144,000-square-foot addition

Alice Pickering
Wyoming Reporter

Polaris Industries is expanding its plant in Wyoming. Company officials attended the Wyoming City Council meeting last Tuesday to answer questions about the planned expansion and to ask a few of their own.

Ryan Companies submitted a site plan application for the construction of 143,773 square-foot additions to its Product and Development Center located at 7290 East Viking Blvd.  The proposed addition has 74,400 square feet of industrial uses and 69,373 square feet for office space.

The Planning Commission recommended the proposed plan with the conditions that the city engineer approve the grading, drainage, and stormwater plans,  a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit has been issued by the MPCA, and that a development agreement with the city has been executed.

Polaris officials were concerned about the proposed water and sewer connect charges, which they believe are high, for the 600 employees.  The combined fees are estimated between $256,600 and just over $294,000.  Roger Elmore asked if the fees are for how much water and sewer is used or an arbitrary percentage based on square feet.  Engineer Mark Erichson will do some further work to determine final utilities connect charges.

There is enough storm water storage on site to handle two back-to-back 100-year storms. There are company internal controls to be certain these spaces are not altered.

Mayor Eric Peterson explained that the city wants easements on the land in the event the city ever had to maintain or correct a drainage problem on the land, no matter the owner.  Fairview has similar arrangements with the city in terms of city easements for storm water storage.

Council members approved the Polaris expansion plan with the conditions recommended by the Planning Commission.  Approval was by a vote of 5-0.

Sewer billing policy

The city council adopted a city policy for billing sewer usage of commercial and industrial customers.  In his written comments, Mattson explained that the sewer rates for commercial customers had been based on the average 12-month water consumption.

This worked while the city had its own wastewater treatment plant.  However, now that the city is part of the Chisago Lakes Joint Sewer Treatment Commission (CLJSTC) the charges are based on the actual gallons treated.  Other communities bill commercial and industrial customers based on actual water used.

The council supported charging for actual volume treated instead of average water usage.  The vote was unanimous. Separate meters for irrigation will mean no seasonal fluctuations.

City staff was authorized to advertise for an unpaid office assistant intern position.  This is for an average of 28 hours a week to help complete conversion of city file to laser fiche. Craig Mattson, Administrator, estimated that it would take about six months to complete this work.  Council approved the action by a vote of 5-0.

Other action

The North Branch Area Education Foundation applied for a one-time gambling permit to conducts a raffle at Stars and Strikes on October 7, 2012.  Council members approved the application by a vote of 5-0.

The city council also unanimously approved a gambling permit for Lakes Area Arts & Athletics Foundation (LAAAF) to conduct a raffle on October 26, 2012.  This event is to be held at Stars and Strikes.

Council members authorized payment of annual dues to the League of Minnesota Cities in the amount of $6,759. The membership runs from September 1, 2012 through August 31, 2013. Also authorized was the cityís membership in the Minnesota mayors Association for the same time frame.  These dues are $30.00.  Approval was unanimous for both actions.

Dan Babbitt made a request that the signal light at the intersection of US-8 and Greenway be adjusted because there is a traffic backup because of the detours around TH-61 road repairs.  Engineer Mark Erichson said he will contact MnDOT about a setting the cycle a little longer.

Sherry Pratt attended the Wyoming city council meeting on Tuesday and spoke during the Open Forum.  Her basement and that of Virginia Powers were both flooded with sewage when the 264th Street lift station failed on July 22.

Pratt made an appeal for some assistance from the city to help with their clean-up efforts. She explained their private insurance does not cover the extent of the damage and clean-up. She believes the city has not done enough since the same thing happened in 2003.

John Wright, Powersí son-in-law, commented that the insurance company’s payments are based on depreciated value.  He asked if the LMC had all the maintenance records.  Wright wanted to be certain the LMC is doing a complete job.

Attorney Mark Vierling said he has not seen the league (LMC) change its opinion once a decision has been reached. He cautioned against dismissing the decision from LMC attorneys.

Mattson explained that the LMC based the decision and claim on the records they had. The city cannot override the LMC decision.  He explained that Pratts and Powers can make an appeal to the LMC.  Council member Joe Zerwas asked to read the decision.

The LMC denied the petitions of Pratt and Powers to have the cityís insurance help cover some of the clean-up costs.  The decision was based on the cityís maintenance and inspection records, copies of which Jason Windingstad, Public Works Supervisor, supplied to LMC attorneys within a day of the pump failure.

Windingstad was the first on the site and determined that the pump did not fail, but floats which signal the control panel got tangled and tripped the switch which turned off the pump. The panel was bumped up to the top of the priority list for replacement. The pump was installed in 1975. Based on the standards in effect at the time and maintenance records of the pump the LMC determined that the city had met its responsibility for maintenance.

Engineer Erichson told the council that the deadline for bids for the skateboard park at due September 18. An effort will be made to process the bids and bring a recommendation to the council meeting that evening.

In other business, the council

• The Wyoming City Council scheduled a special city council meeting for 6 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012 at the Wyoming City Hall. The purpose was to discuss the preliminary 2013 Budget and adopt a “Not to Exceed Tax Levy Payable in 2013.”

• Scheduled a council work session at 5:30 p.m., on September 18, in the Giese Memorial Library. This is before the regular council meeting.

• By unanimous vote approved the minutes of the regular council meeting of August 21, 2012.

• Also approved the minutes of the work session of August 21.  It preceded regular council meeting.