City council notes: August 5, 2019

City council notes: August 5, 2019

The Spencer City Council discussed the following topics at its meeting on Monday.

Spencer residents likely to see lower wastewater bills

Spencer residents and other wastewater customers will likely see lower bills in the future.

On Monday, the Spencer City Council voted 6-0 to approve the first filing that changes how the city bills for its wastewater service charges.

A software update at Spencer Municipal Utilities now allows the city to see water usage by customers to the gallon. That wasn’t possible in the past, so the city rounded up to the next 1,000 gallons in determining the wastewater service charge.

Spencer City Manager Amanda Mack said the change will save residents money. She also asked the council to consider fast-tracking the ordinance change.

“We would also recommend that at the second reading we wave the third filing and approve it at the next meeting so that it can go into effect sooner rather than later,” she said.

Though residents will save money, the city’s sewer revenues will decline. It’s not known how significantly revenues will drop. The city plans to monitor the impact over the next few years. 

Under the ordinance, the city can’t change sewer rates for three years.

Contract awarded for landfill cell expansion

The council voted 6-0 to award a contract for the 2019 landfill cell D2 expansion project to Rognes Brothers Excavating of Lake Mills.

Rognes Brothers submitted the lowest of three bids, said Jim Thiesse, an engineer with Kruse, Cate and Nelson.

Including an alternative, the project cost is expected to be $672,317.

That was 93% of the engineer’s estimate.

“We feel pretty good about that,” Thiesse said.

Elbert hired as recreation director

Jared Elbert will be hired as recreation director effective August 12.

The city council approved the hiring on Monday.

“We’re excited to offer Jared the position and he’s excited to come aboard,” Mack said.

Elbert’s starting salary will be $64,671.

Compensation study approved

The City of Spencer wants a better idea of how its employee compensation compares to competing cities.

On Monday, the council approved, by a 6-0 vote, hiring Carlson Dettmann to prepare a study providing the city with that information.

“We had I think two pretty good discussions about this during committee meetings and I think we as a council looked really very carefully at this,” City Councilman Steve Bomgaars said.

The cost of the study will be $20,000 plus expenses not to exceed $2,000.

Carlson Dettmann will work with city staff and the council throughout the process.

“They have indicated that they will begin the work beginning in September with a completion date before the end of the year,” Mack said.

The study will also provide suggestions on how the city can improve its human resource operations.

Zoning change for SMU tower property approved

The city council voted 6-0 to approve the third and final filing of a zoning classification change ordinance that will allow SMU to construct a new communications tower while it also replaces its damaged water tower on the south end of town.

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