Wyoming fills public works void

Council also lends support to sewage commission plan


Alice Pickering
Wyoming Reporter

The Wyoming Public Works Department has two new employees after being short-staffed since April due to a resignation and retirement.

Jason Windingstad, public works superintendent, reported 137 applicants for the two positions. Windingstad and City Administrator Craig Mattson conducted interviews, narrowing the field to three candidates for each position.

Based on exam scores and personalities, Windingstad recommended Eric Rydeen for the position of lead worker with Maintenance Operations Streets. Rydeen begins work July 15 at a pay rate of $26.60 an hour.

Josh Smith was the recommended candidate for the maintenance worker I position. Smith most recently worked with the Minnesota Department of Transportation and has a wide range of experience, including streets, water and sewer systems, and snow plowing. Smith fills the position at a pay rate of $20.30 an hour. Smith also starts work on July 15.

Sewage Treatment Commission funding plans

The Wyoming City Council passed a motion supporting the Chisago Lakes Joint Sewage Treatment Commission’s plan of funding capital projects with a loan from Minnesota Rural Water, a lower-cost alternative to general obligation bonds.

Information from Mark Wolcott, commission chair, indicates interest rates are increasing slightly but should remain below 3 percent for the next few months. The anticipated amount of a loan is about $1.3 million.

Councilman Joe Zerwas, liaison with commission, listed the upcoming maintenance and capital projects that need to be completed within about 18 months. Many are state-mandated upgrades and repairs.

Zerwas indicated that the amount of the loan is “aiming high,” but it can be used as needed, much like a line of credit. There was discussion by the commission about proposed land purchases for further expansion. Zerwas indicated that there is mixed support for this among commission members.

The council unanimously authorized the commission to move ahead on the loan application. There will be additional action when commission has more specific information.

Related to this, Mattson indicated that the city is currently working on its own water-rate study. He noted that the city does not yet have any costs related to the commission but knows that rate increases are likely. Within the past few years, there have been some systemwide costs that were unplanned, but participating cities had to dig up cash to cover their respective shares of these.

With five cities, Chisago County and a sanitary district, unexpected costs affect water and sewer funds. Mattson’s request was for more proactive information about plans. The city is putting “numbers together right now” for its rate study. Wyoming’s share of the costs in the commission is 23.12 percent.

Street improvements

Design is underway for the street improvement plan, according to the report from Engineer Mark Erichson. The major work, at the front-end of the 10-year plan, is street and utility improvements in the northeast quadrant of the city. Plans and specifications are ready for bids when City Council gives the word.

Engineering staff members wish to meet with the new administrator for the Comfort Lake/Forest Lake Watershed District as it prepares the feasibility study for Greenway Avenue. These projects are contingent on the sale of bonds to finance the projects. A special election is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 27, for residents to vote on the funding question.

As part of the consent agenda, the council approved appointment of the following judges for the special election: Lisa Eickman, Marlene English, Barb Grams, Linda Josephson, Robb Linwood (head judge), Diane Mason, P.J. Richardson, Evelyn Rodrique, Annette Storm, Stephanie Tiedeman and Maureen Wolhaupter.

Other business

City Council members approved the appointment of Nick Acker and Michael Hendrickson as firefighters on probationary status. These appointments bring the complement of firefighters to 32; the department is authorized to have 34. Appointments are contingent on satisfactory results on medical exams. Alex Langer was appointed as a member of the cadet program.

The council approved the preliminary and final plats of the Wolfe Point development. The property is located near the intersection of 250th Street and Fallbrook Avenue, near Heims Lake, adjacent to Sunrise Prairie Trail. Property owners Allen and Diane Wolfe requested division of their 4.93 acres into two parcels. The property split is compatible with surrounding areas, zoned R-1 and R-2.

Fireworks are to be part of the program for Stagecoach Days again this year. Council members approved the contract for the program with RES Specialty Pyrotechnics, of Belle Plaine, for $6,000. Stagecoach Days is Saturday, Sept. 14.

The intersection of 250th Street and US-61 continues to be a magnet for accidents. Improvements completed within the last two years, including turn lanes, have improved the road, but accidents are still happening. Two recent ones prompted a request from resident Jerry Owens for the City Council to lobby for signal lights at the intersection. He urged pressure on legislators to look into it, too.