Tim Miller from the Granite Falls Municipal Utility reported the results of the electric rate study. This is the third study that has been conducted, the previous ones were in 2006 and 2011. The proposed rate increase is 2% in both the spring of 2018, and January 2019. It will vary a bit for each customer and class of customer. The last increase was 4% in spring of 2011 and January 2012.
The reason for the increase is inflationary operation costs, while the usage has been fairly flat for the past 10 years. Miller showed a chart with historical and projected income, which showed a loss starting in 2020-2021 if the proposed rate increase doesn’t happen. The increase would prevent the loss from happening. The council set a public hearing to discuss the rate increase for the February 20th council meeting.
City Engineer Mike Amborn discussed proposed street and sewer projects. Project 1 is 6th Ave. from 2nd St. west for two blocks, and 2nd St. from 5th to 6th Ave. Estimated cost is $804,000. Project 2 is to Jet and Televise the Sanitary Sewer. Estimated cost $25,000.
Project 3 is 11th Ave from 15th to 17th St. Estimated cost $472,000 Project 4 is 7th St. from 212 to 12th Ave. Estimated cost $116,000. Project 5 is 9th St. from 10th Ave. to 8th Ave. Estimated cost $216,000. Project 6 is the Library parking lot. Depending on the size of the new lot, estimated cost is about $154,000.
The Street Committee recommended holding off on Project 1 because of potential future funding. The Governor of Minnesota released a $167 million bonding proposal on Tuesday. The money is for water and sewer improvements, exactly what Granite is working on. Mayor Smiglewski speculated that the money would likely have to be locally matched, but it would still be a big help. The council set a public hearing to discuss Projects 2-6 during the February 5th council meeting.
The MNDoT sent the council an email explaining a redesign of the Highway 212 and Highway 23 intersection. The goal is better lane alignment. There might be an added left turn lane from southbound to eastbound, which could take away the southbound to westbound lane. EMS override for the stoplights will also be added, so emergency vehicles can change the lights if needed. Smiglewski reported it’s a $30 million dollar project, the biggest the 8th District MNDoT has ever done. The project is speculated to happen in 2020 or 2021.
In other news: The council approved the color run for September 29.
Tyler Knutson was appointed to the KCC board. Karl Pfaff was appointed to the Park Board.
The council approved a $1500 donation to the Granite Area Arts council, and $1000 to the Lee Mar Ranch Therapeutic Riding program.
The fire department elected new officers, including a new fire chief.
Fire Chief: Jeremy LeBlanc
1st Asst. Chief: Barrett Eggebratten
2nd Asst. Chief: Doug Ramirez
Secretary: Dustin McCaleb