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Council reviews Lake Mitchell study decision

Mitchell City Hall. (Republic file photo)

Political ripples from the recent Mitchell City Council decision to spend $80,000 for determining the costs of fixing Lake Mitchell washed over Monday's regular Council meeting.

"Fyra has used up a lot of good will," said Councilman Mel Olson, referring to Omaha-based lake project consultant Fyra Engineering.

A lot of people in town, Olson said, wonder why the city had to pay for a second study to determine dredging costs when they thought that was the point of Fyra's original contract covering the past two years.

Joe Kippes, president of the Lake Advisory Committee, looked pained as he explained that Fyra's original study wasn't intended to determine dredging costs. The first study was intended to determine the primary sources of the phosphorus polluting the lake and causing its algae blooms, he said.

"We pressed Fyra for numbers," he explained, and the engineering firm responded with cost estimates based on assumptions about how much sediment was present. Actual core samples taken for Fyra in February, however, proved those assumptions wrong, finding up to eight times more polluted soft sediment than expected or possibly 2 million cubic yards of it.

"I'm not saying that's good news," Kippes said. "But if we want a solution and an honest response, we have to go through some of this."

On April 2, the council considered spending $385,000 toward the final design of what they had assumed was the $7.2 million cost of phase one of the lake cleanup. The last-minute discovery of so much additional sediment upended that estimate, but Fyra was quick to say the new cost estimate won't necessarily rise dramatically.

In the face of so much uncertainty, the Council voted April 2 to give Fyra the $80,000 to determine a realistic project price. If the Council votes to proceed, it will need to pay an additional $305,000 for the project design, including where to dump dredged sediment.

At Monday's meeting, council members wanted to make sure they knew exactly what they had purchased and when they would know more.

Three major answers emerged:

• The findings will be presented to the City Council in mid-June.

• At least three options and the associated costs for dredging and capping polluted sediment will be presented.

• The refined project costs will include dealing with the effect of city storm water flows.

Honoring the champs

In another matter at Monday's meeting, Mayor Jerry Toomey issued a proclamation honoring the national champion Dakota Wesleyan women's basketball team. The Tigers won the 2018 NAIA Division II championship, becoming the first national champion team in DWU history.

Members of the team and head coach Jason Christensen were honored at the meeting.

Other business

The Council approved:

• The transfer of retail (on-sale) liquor license RL-5756 from Boehnen Corp. doing business as Ramada Inn, 1525 W. Havens Ave., to Mitchell Hotel LLC doing business as Ramada Inn at the same location.

• Resolution No. R2018-18, A Plat of Lot 1, Block 6 of Woodland Heights First Addition, A Subdivision of Tract 1, Block 1, Crane's Addition in the Southeast 1/4, T 103 N, R 60 W of the Fifth P.M.

• Resolution No. R2018-19, A Plat of Lots 1,2,3 and 4, Block 1 of Powderhorn Subdivision and Longhorn Court in the southwest 1/4 of Section 24, T 103 N, R 61 W of the Fifth P.M.

• The award of a bid for curb and gutter City Project No. 2018-14.

• The award of a bid for a new or used compost screener for City Project No. 2018-18.

• The award of bids for 15th and Minnesota valve replacement City Project No. 2018-23.

• Agreement No. A2018-15 for professional services to evaluate the City of Mitchell's wastewater collection system.

• The Council tabled until its next meeting the award of a bid for 1500-1600 Blocks of East Hanson and 200-500 Blocks of South Wallace for water main replacement City Project No. 2018-2.

Consent agenda

The Council approved without debate several items on the consent agenda:

• Raffle permits for Mitchell VFW Post 2750 with the drawing to be held on May 27; Mitchell Regional Habitat for Humanity with the drawing to be held on June 1; and Mitchell Friends of the NRA with the drawing to be held on Sept. 8.

• Set the bid opening for 1:30 p.m., May 2, for rock chips City Project No. 2018-10.

• Authorization to purchase off Minnesota State Contract No. 105679 for camera system.

• Authorization to apply for a 2019 speed enforcement grant.

• Authorization to apply for the South Central Alcohol Task Force 2019 grant.

• Gas and fuel quotation.

• Approve bills, payroll, salary adjustments and new employee hires and authorize payment of recurring and other expenses.