Council hears progress report on water meter replacement project

Jessica Stölen-Jacobson
Montevideo American-News

At the regular monthly meeting of the Montevideo City Council Monday evening, Utilities Superintendent Byron Hayunga was in attendance to give a report on the status of the water meter installation project. Hayunga noted that of the 2,457 utility accounts in Montevideo, 1,696 meters have been replaced, with another 231 appointments set for new meter installs. There are 529 accounts that have yet to schedule the meter installation.

“One thing I wanted to bring up is that there’s a list of over 100 residents from the first batch of letters they [Ferguson] sent out that have not responded,” Hayunga said. “For the last couple of weeks, Ferguson has wanted to post door hangers on the houses with a note that if they did not schedule in the next three days the water would be shut off,” Hayunga noted that was a step he would rather not take. “I know I went through the list and there’s probably a dozen residents on there that have had time in the hospital or nursing homes, or have gone south for the winter already. With the timing so close to Christmas I hate to start hanging door hangers,” he said. Hayunga also noted that the appointments already on the books would give Ferguson enough work to stay consistent through Christmas.

City Council President Nathan Schmidt spoke, saying, “In my opinion, it’s a poor time of the year to put something on their door saying you have three days. I would prefer putting something on their door that says please contact us right away.” Councilmember Beverly Olson also noted that if there were people who travel south in the winter, they wouldn’t see a door hanger giving them three days to respond. It was noted that there were still accounts that would be worked on through Spring and so those accounts could be addressed at a later time and no action was taken.

The City Council approved the Proposed Budget and Levy for 2022. The levy for 2022 is proposed to increase by 5.34%. Additionally, the council approved a renewal application for the 2 a.m. closing of Groat’s Bar. The council also accepted gifts and grants for the month, including a number of donations from area businesses and community members for the Shop with a Cop program totaling $2,965. There was an additional donation of three VA Home Pictures from Marvin Garbe valued at $60 and a grant that was accepted from the Federal American Rescue Plan funds for COVID relief in the amount of $8,737.54.

The City Council also approved setting a time and date for a joint meeting with the Chippewa County Board of Commissioners to discuss jointly owned facilities including the airport, library, and hospital. The meeting will be held at the Public Works Facility on Monday, December 13th, 2021 at 7 p.m. The next regular monthly meeting of the City Council will be held on Monday, December 20th at 7 p.m.