Devils Lake City Commission votes to replace residential water meters throughout the city

Louise Oleson, Editor

The city of Devils Lake will ultimately save money by changing the way the city’s water meters are read.

But that means all the meters in the city need to be replaced.

New technology allows residential water meters to be read electronically, by pointing a “gun” at the residence from a vehicle on the street. Presently, to read the meters an individual must go around to each house and physically touch each house to obtain a read-out. What takes days to accomplish now, will take a morning to accomplish once the project is completed.

It will take about six months to complete the entire project but the city of Devils Lake entered into an agreement with Ferguson Waterworks of Fargo to be responsible for the project.

A representative from Ferguson was present at Tuesday’s meeting of the Devils Lake City Commission. He informed the commission that they would be utilizing a local plumbing contractor to change out the meters and assured the commissioners that they would be able to have the project completed in the six-month timeline.

George Zenk, on behalf of the Lake Region Heritage Center Board approached the commission asking for their help again for the fiscal year of 2011 because even if the vote in November is successful to raise the mills that support the two city museums it won’t go into effect until 2012. In the meantime they are asking for the same level of support the city had given this past year.

A great deal of discussion ensued as Zenk was reminded that budget items should have been brought before the commission starting in July, not now that the budget for 2011 is complete.

He apologized to the commission saying he was not aware of the deadline for submitting items for consideration in the city’s budget.

Since the estimated $20,000 asked for is a significant amount, Mayor Dick Johnson asked if they could look over the request and act on it in a future city meeting and Zenk agreed. It will be on the Oct. 4 meeting agenda.

Other business

A bid opening for installation of recycling center fence yielded two bids, the first from Newman Fence and the second from Dakota Fence. The commission referred the bids to the appropriate department for review.

A second bid opening was for a multi-material baler, and only one bid was received which granted a trade-in value for the city’s old baler.  

Under commission portfolios Myron Asleson requested an additional $150,000 for street repairs that are needed around the city.

His request was granted and Commissioner Craig Stromme said “This money is money well-spent. We need these places fixed.”

Asleson also talked about changing the contractor for concrete projects that needed to be completed. City Engineer Mike Grafsgaard recommend an emergency be declared because we're staring down the barrel of fall,these sidewalks are open and need to get done. The commission agreed.

Grafsgaard discussed an excavation permit for the north side of Highway 19 west of the airport. He said he recommend approval contingent upon receiving all the paperwork from the contractors.

Newman Fence was granted the bid for the fence around the recycling center.

The mayor and Grafsgaard discussed their take on their recent trip to Washington DC. Both felt that communication of information among the federal agencies was lacking.

“It was a good thing we went,” Johnson said, “because some of the things we emphasized were things they hadn’t heard before.” There appeared to be a communication gap between federal agencies but the Devils Lake delegation was able to emphasize how important it is to get water off the east end of the lake. They were hopeful to see a change in EPA standards for the Sheyenne and also discussed inundated acreage, infrastructure needs for the city.

Grafsgaard concurred, “The Federal agencies down here and up there are disconnected.  I don't know how we could have made it more clear.”

There's no question that there will be some changes to the report as a result of the meetings Devils Lake attended, Johnson was certain of that.

Grafsgaard said he was glad they went, after networking with Valley City, Lisbon, Fargo, and West Fargo it was obvious  they're in our court, as well, The official report will be out on Sept. 20

Commissioner Tim Heisler met with Aimes Construction to discuss work at Acorn Ridge that will begin Wednesday [today]. He said, “With all that’s going on it is going to be a busy time  around the basin for the next two years

The Woods Rutten Road will be paved soon once all the rip rap is in place to protect it.

Fire Chief Jim Moe reported about a joint exercise with Camp Grafton they will be doing for three days. He also talked briefly about 130 trees in the city that are targeted to be cut down because of disease.

 The 2011 preliminary city budget is complete and will be published in the paper. Auditor Terry Johnston said, “It is the fifth year in a row we've decreased our mills.”

The consent agenda contained nine items and all were approved as was an application to State Water Commission for construction of a dam for Phase 2A and an agreement with Nodak Electric for Creel bay lift station for redundant power should the main power source fail.