Devils Lake City Commission affirms its opposition to Tolna Coulee control structure

Louise Oleson, Editor
The Tolna Coulee as it was in May of 2011.

Nothing has changed with the Devils Lake City Commission when it comes to their position on the Tolna Coulee and a control structure the Corps wants to build there.

“Our position is the same. We want to get water off this summer, this fall, even this winter and as soon as possible,” said Mayor Dick Johnson at Monday’s regular meeting of the commission.

Although it was the final item on a lengthy agenda, the city’s water issues brought out a great deal of discussion as Mike Grafsgaard presented an agreement for the city to consider with the State Water Commission. The agreement outlined a proposed operating plan for the control structure on the Tolna Coulee.

“Why would we enter into this agreement, or even give our input on it? We are not in agreement with the Corps’ plans for the coulee,” Commissioner Rick Morse stated.

Grafsgaard said that he believed the Corps would build a control structure on the coulee whether the city likes it or not, whether it is on the city’s property there or not. What they are planning is not in the best interest of the city of Devils Lake or the Lake Region, it is a downstream flood protection project only.

However, it was the concensus that since the city started saying “No” to the plans for the Tolna Coulee project, they have had more consideration.

A great deal of discussion also centered around the ongoing cost that would be associated with a substation or a two megawatt generator that may be required to accompany the east end pumpstation to provide a secondary power supply source. The estimate was for something like $1,700 a month for a substation, for example, that would only be used if it was needed - if the primary power source failed.

That’s a monthly reoccurring cost.

Grafsgaard explained that ever since Katrina, the Corps has been requiring a secondary power source be readily available in the event it’s needed.

Other business

A bid was opened, reviewed and accepted for a front mount mower.

Bids were opened for the sale of five properties that lie in the path of the embankment project. After some review, the best bid for each property was selected.

Bids were opened for the sale of old water meters and following some discussion, that bid was awarded, as well.

An emergency was declared to grant the contractor permission to go ahead with removing the debris as soon as the structures have been removed to expedite the embankment project.

Myron Asleson reported that dates had been set for aerial mosquito spraying prior to the Fourth of July.

Terry Johnston reported that the city had received an unexpected additional amount of funding from the DOT that would be added to the city’s budget for street repairs.

Fire Chief Jim Moe asked for and received permission to obtain a digital repeater for the city with grant funds.

Tri-State Paving got the bid for the bike path to be built around Prairie View School property.

Grafsgaard said that one of the contractors working in the area wanted to improve lots owned by the city - raising the lot approximately three feet and digging in sewer and water in exchange for being allowed to place their office trailer and storage trailer on that property. The adjoining lot is already being used for this purpose by another of the contractors also at work in the area.

Plus this same contractor wanted to develop a haul road along 8th Avenue south of Southside Park to gain access for that portion of the Phase Two-B near the water treatment facility.

The city agreed to both of these requests.

The consent agenda, with nine items on it, was approved.

New business included approval of agreements to purchase/relocation settlement offers for embankment project.

•Approve payment of estimate No. 19 for PKG Contracting Inc. for the water treatment plant.

•Approve resolution to set the liability on the commercial blanket bond for the city of Devils Lake.

•Approved a loan provision for city retirement plan.

•Recommendation on sale of parking lot to Renard Bergstrom.

•Resolution determining insufficient protests were filed in Street Improvement District No. 36-11. (College Drive Frontage Road between 15th Street and 17th Street.)

•Resolution declaring the necessity of an improvement for Street Improvement Districts No 37-11 (14th St. SE), No. 38-11 (Village Ave. SE), No. 39-11 (3rd Street NW, 2nd St. NW, 3rd Ave NW), No 40-11 (3rd St. SE) and No. 41-11 (12th St. NE).