The Hackensack City Council got an idea of what the city’s cost shares could be for the 2024 Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) Hwy. 371 Urban  Reconstruction project through town.

At the June 13 council meeting, MnDOT project manager Katy Reierson presented the most recent cost breakdowns for state, county and city, with city participation for parking lanes, concrete boulevards (city request), lighting (standard vs. decorative, requested by city) and tree grates.

Preliminary estimates of total city costs are $504,391.23. Water and sewer needs may be part of the final project.

“We are about two years out, but we are moving along,” Reierson assured the council. MnDOT will be meeting with the city and Cass County to go over costs.  Once work begins, the project should be substantially completed in one construction season, May through September.  Work will be scheduled around community events and festivals. Project details will be discussed further at the city’s June 27 planning session.

Planning ahead for future capital improvements will also be discussed June 27. Moore Engineering will help the city identify future needs and start budgeting for them. It may also help with grant funding and writing grant proposals.  

The council took under advisement Larry Refsland’s proposal to create a Local Housing Trust Fund  where a local government can dedicate local public revenue for housing, both owner occupied and non-owner occupied. The fund would be administered by a taxing authority like the city. No minimum amount is needed to establish the fund.

The idea will be discussed at the upcoming planning session, which will also include a “field trip” to a 15 acre tract that might someday be the site of an affordable housing project, under consideration for Hackensack.

The council approved a proposal presented by the Legion Riders to hang wreaths on shepherds’ hooks on about 175 veterans’ graves at Hillcrest Cemetery. The wreaths and hooks would be installed each the fall and removed in the spring.

The group’s request for a city contribution to buy hooks was referred to the planning session. Councilor Jim Schneider said he’d like to see the city partner with other organizations to cover the costs. The Legion Riders will get back to the city with cost estimates before the planning session.

As of July 1, city maintenance supervisor Dana Stanko will be handing over hands-on duties to new superintendent Rob Triplett and employee Casey Stanley, although Staanko will stand by to provide advice until his official  retirement date July 31.

The city is still trying to find the source of discolored water. A report by Tyrel Clark of Moore Engineering showed that while iron levels are low, manganese levels are higher than desired and could be the reason for discoloration.

The report recommends testing the finished water at the plant regularly for iron and manganese to find out if the source is the treatment plant or the distribution system. To specifically reduce manganese levels, it may be useful to adjust the dosing of other chemicals. All possibilities will be tried before going back to the drawing board.

In any case, the discolored water is more a cosmetic and taste issue, not a health issue.

Another priority was filling yet another vacant council seat. Councilor Lee-Ann Marchwick has moved out of town, so the position is now vacant. That term runs through Dec. 31, 2024. The city will seek letters of application from Hackensack residents interested in filling the rest of the term.  

In other business the council

Approved issuance of a $205,000 General Obligation (GO) water revenue bond and a $207,000 GO water revenue bond, related to construction on First Street and the water tower.

Approved Rendezvous Brewery’s brewer license application amendment, based on recently modified state liquor laws.

Approved a resolution recognizing National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.

Authorized education expenses at $2,500 for city clerk training for Trista Olander, provided by Terri Osterman.

Approved Ordinance 83, Minnesota Power Franchise Agreement; and publication of an ordinance  summary.

Tabled for further discussion a request by Pat Bultman to buy a 40 foot strip from the city adjoining his property at 212 Lake Shore Drive. Because the strip touches both lake and road, the city will contact the DNR. Discussion will continue at the planning session.

Tabled a vote on the Children’s Fishing Contest lease, due to lack of a quorum (councilor Marchwick and Wilkes absent, Mayor Kennedy abstaining).

Approved a pay request from Utilities Systems of America for bituminous work on Whipple up to $30,000 max, not covered by Rural Development.

Approved installation of a bike fixing station (tools attached) near the kiosk at city park. The bike station was provided and funded by the Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP).

Approved  closure of Church Street for Sacred Heart Catholic Church’s July and August flea markets.

Authorized a temporary liquor license for the July 8 and 9 Josh Duffee Big Band Concerts, with the Hackensack Muni providing liquor service.

Authorized closure of Lake Street East from 3 p.m., Aug. 12, to Aug. 13, 6 p.m. for the Northwoods Arts and Book Festival. During the closure, the Hackensack community garden will be accessible by foot but not vehicle.

Authorized replacement of the Community Building door for the low bid of slightly over $8,000, and to check on whether ARPA funds could be used, if the door is ADA accessible.

Approved a  request by Karen Holle, Community Garden manager, to have a  professional well drilled at the garden site, contingent on all applicable permits being in place. Estimate is $4,000. Funding would come from the SHIP Grant.

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