Wyoming picks preferred design for Highway 8 upgrade

Plan being brought before affected cities


Alice Pickering
Wyoming Reporter

Last Tuesday’s meeting of the Wyoming City Council featured a review of the TH-8 project. Money is not available yet to begin construction, but councils of impacted cities have been given the plans for review.

Craig Mattson, city administrator, pointed out places the several plans varied. They are similar, with the primary differences the width and design of medians for the four-lane highway, and the rights-of-way which may be shifted one way or another. These affect bridges and frontage roads.

Mattson explained that having the route set will help with future civic planning along the route; when frontage roads, infrastructure, and potential developments are proposed.  The route of the highway will be considered.

The display map showed the highway extending from I-35 east through Chisago City, Lindstrom, and Center City. One determining factor was cost of various plans; one option was about $31 million, while the cost of the plan the Council preferred is about $23 million. Council approved the basic concept labeled ‘Plan 5’ by a vote of 5-0.

County Levy

Ben Montzka, County Commissioner, told the council that Chisago County has submitted its preliminary 2013 levy.  The proposed levy shows about 1 percent decrease from the 2012 levy.

He also anticipated public opposition, saying that cuts had been made in some programs for senior citizens in the county. However, he justified this by identifying some specific social programs which commissioners did not believe the levy should cover.

Essential services, such as home-delivered meals and congregate dining remain in social services. Montzka indicated that there are five layers of funding supporting these programs, so vital ones remain.

Other Business

The first payment for the TH-61 intersection improvements was authorized by the city council.  Payment is to Forest Lake Contracting, Inc., in the amount of $437,347.19. The contract amount for the project is $883,520.53. The payment represents the value of work completed to date ($460,365.46) minus five-percent which is retained ($23,018.27) until the final inspection of the completed work. Council approved the payment by a vote of 5-0.

The council formally acknowledged receipt of a donation of $4,106.50 from the Hallberg Family Foundation to the Wyoming Police Department. The donation is to purchase a Varda Alarm System. It is a mobile system which can be used to monitor sites which have potential for criminal activity. The value is its mobility and the sensors which notify the department instantly when they are tripped.

The council adopted a resolution which amends the city ordinance (Chapter 8) related to the keeping of livestock and other animals within the city. Fred Weck, Building Inspector, explained that this basically brings the expanded city under a unified ordinance regarding permitted animals, including domestic pets and urban fowl. The ordinance also addresses the number of animals and their shelter, and identifies prohibited animals. Council approved the amendment unanimously.

Compliments were all around for Stagecoach Days. Jerry Owens thanked Wyoming Area Business Association and city staff for their hard work and declared it was a perfect day for the event. John Bergum had high praise for the quality of the fireworks display.

Council members declared a surrendered Ford Ranger pickup as surplus property and authorized the Police Department to sell the vehicle through public auction. The vote was unanimous.

The Chisago Lakes Joint Sewer Commission met with Pentair about the failed pump shafts, according to Steve Zerwas. The company has requested pictures of the damaged shafts, metallurgical analysis of the items, and a diagram of the layout of the pumping stations. CLJSC hopes to settle the matter with the company within about two months.

Zerwas also reported that the design of the bridge on CR-19 has been approved. Construction is slated for 2013. Replacing the bridge is more effective than changing the route of the sewer main in the area.

Dan Babbitt thanked Engineer Mark Erichson for his prompt contact with MnDOT requesting a longer cycle on the signal light at Hwy. 8-Greenway intersection. Traffic is no longer backed up so much.

Babbitt asked about comparable worth, noting that Police Chief Paul Hoppe commands a salary of about $103,000 and commands about 12-15 officers. He compared it to a similar salary of the St. Cloud police chief, who in charge of 104 sworn officers. He wondered why the salaries were about the same but supervisory responsibilities somewhat different.

Roger Elmore explained that the city is losing a fire chief and the city is consolidating the police department and fire department into a public safety department. Hoppe is serving as the pubic safety officer.

Rodney Hestiken complimented city leaders with the beginning plans for the street improvements, but is “opposed to taking the streets and putting the repairs on the tax rolls.” On one hand it would encourage business; on the other hand it would tax them out of town, he said. He believes the city should look to assessments to pay for at least part of the street repairs.

There were questions about the placement of one of Linda Yeager’s campaign signs at the RiverBank property. Yeager told the council she had been given permission to place the sign there until others she had ordered had been delivered. It now has a home on CR-22.

The council learned that the appeal about the Peterson annexation decision is scheduled for 9 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 25 in District Court.