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home : government : government February 5, 2016

3/14/2014 10:07:00 AM
City still battling frozen water lines

by Ken Haggerty

The Cannon Falls city council passed a resolution at its March 6 meeting for an interim policy regarding payment of utility bills while running water to prevent water service line freezing.

Mayor Robby Robinson also directed staff to have public works take measures to help people who had frozen lines get their service restored. "To be out of water this long is unsatisfactory," said Robinson. "we've got to figure something out and get it done."

Some people with PVC pipes installed this past summer on a cul de sac by North Almond St. and Cannon Court were having difficulty getting pipes thawed. Joel Wilson came to the meeting and said he has been out of water since February 19. Wilson said he's never had a problem in the 16 years he's lived there,

People with cast iron pipes have had better luck getting pipes thawed using electrical current or other methods, but at a cost of around $500 or more. Some have decided to forego the expense and wait for pipes to thaw.

A total of 42 services have frozen this winter, one of the coldest on record. Public works director Tom Bergeson said about six were still frozen as of Tuesday, March 11.

Bergeson said with warmer air temperatures, they are now able to set up temporary water supply lines from hydrants to homes via a hose. The city has offered bulk water tanks to some in need as well as bottled water.

Bergeson said despite the warmer air temperatures, he remains concerned about the frost line still moving lower and freezing more services. Most lines are at seven and a half feet deep, He thinks the frost line may be approaching seven feet,

The resolution passed by the council says residents who are running water to prevent freezing should pay the average amount from December and January water and sewer bills until a final decision is made on what, if any, credits will be given on bills. Late paymentpenalties will be waived.

The city wants to see how long this freezing situation lasts, how much water is run, and what the total costs incurred are before making a decision on offering credits.

New computers for squads

The council approved under the consent agenda purchase of three new laptop computers for the police squad cars. Total spending was approved up to $13,980. Savings of about $1,000 may be obtained with a quantity order.

The State and the FBI are requiring software and hardware upgrades, but it made more sense to just replace the four year old computers, said Chief Jeff McCormick. Goodhue County and Red Wing went in on a joint quote for a Panasonic Toughbook, model 131, which matches existing docking platforms in the squads. Goodhue County will set them up for the mobile communications network.

Support for Byllesby bonding

The council approved a resolution supporting Dakota County's request for $1.345 million in State bonding to help finance the repair projects to the Byllesby Dam. The request detailed $3.455 million in capital improvements. Dakota County has put the total project cost at over $7 million. Other funds are coming from DNR dam safety money and from the dam's hydroelectricity profits.

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