City won’t let sand (money) go down the drain

• Residents, however, will be responsible for   re-constructing fence


by Debbie Griffin

Contributing Writer

The Zimmerman City Council decided at its Aug. 4 regular meeting how to resolve problems with the drainage utility in a 19th Street neighborhood and acknowledged that private fencing within the city-owned right of way had contributed to the problem.

Residents of the street had contacted the city about the drainage utility between their backyards that deposits dirt, causes erosion and soaks the ground. Late last month, the council members, city staff and engineer visited the site, which had a common utility installed by a past home developer.

Zimmerman’s contract engineer, Kevin Bittner of Bolton & Menk, presented several options that would accomplish the project goals of properly channeling drainage water, re-establishing turf and filtering out excess sediment. The options to fix the problems would cost about $10,000, according to estimates.

Public Works Director Dave Horvath noted the sand won’t stop coming because so much is applied to the roads during winter.

The council members agreed to install a hydrodynamic separator within the system to remove dirt from the water before it flows to the drainage-easement area. The built-up sediment could be removed occasionally. The city will disassemble fencing to access the area and leave reconstruction to the homeowners.

Horvath said the city would be checking its other drainage utilities for problems. Similar right of way infringement might exist throughout the city, staff said, with fences, sheds, pet structures and other things on land people don’t realize the city owns. The officials acknowledged that few people know their exact, legal, property bounds, which are typically presented or reviewed only during the title work of real-estate transactions.

The Zimmerman City Council took other action at the Aug. 4 meeting:

•Agreed to join the Sherburne County Economic Development Authority, which is a partnership that works together to bring new business. Mayor Dave Earenfight confirmed that the partnership requires no financial obligation. He said SCEDA representatives assured him the organization has no power to levy taxes and would not be asking Zimmerman for money.

•Listened to a report about the 2015 budget, to be discussed at a special meeting Aug. 11. It then will be included in council packets and discussed at the regular meetings Aug. 18 and Sept. 8 and 15.

•Heard how thieves stole the Connexus-owned lights on the Fremont Avenue flagpole. The flag was lowered and removed until the lights can be replaced.