By Clay Schuldt
The Aug. 26 Caledonia City Council meeting began with a return to discussion regarding the new walking path along Kingston Street. Council member Tom Murphy wanted to clarify if the city would be responsible for clearing the snow or property owners.
“Every other resident in the city has to do their sidewalks, regardless of if they paid for them,” City Administrator Ted Schoonover said.
Murphy believed the Kingston sidewalk was a different circumstance since it fell under the comprehensive plan for recreation purpose and was installed without residential approval.
In addition, a portion of the sidewalk is not connected to any resident’s property.
Mayor Robert Burns pointed out that no matter how the council interpreted the problem, the city would need to clear this section of the sidewalk.
However, Burns did not want to set a precedence requiring Caledonia employees to clear all new walking paths in front of homes.
Further complicating the problem, the new Kingston Street sidewalk has no boulevard separating it from the street. As a result, when Kingston Street is plowed, the snow will be pushed onto the sidewalk, which could technically make the city responsible.
No definitive action was taken on this issue.
Ambulance Director Mike Tornstrom addressed the council regarding the purchase of a new heart monitor for the ambulance. Tornstrom explained the department is trying to replace more expensive items, like the monitor, on a six year rotation.
The new monitor has the ability to connect with the internet. Tornstrom said, “The goal is to be able to send our information directly to a cardiologist.” This technology will hopefully speed up diagnosing and treatment of patients.
“The big thing with strokes and heart attacks is time,” Tornstrom said.
The monitor also has advanced life support systems built into it, which the Caledonia Ambulance Department may be able to utilize in the future.
Tornstrom received a single quote from Phillips for $21,457 after the service agreement. The old monitor being replaced could be sold back for $4,000 bringing the price down to $17,000, which puts the monitor within the budget limit of $20,000.
The council approved the purchase.
The council once again discussed the effects of the new radio water meters installed last fall. City Accountant Stephanie Mann said that while it was still too soon to make comparisons between the new and old meters, she confirmed the meters were far more accurate.
“I think people are happier to see that [bill] monthly,” Mann said. In addition, the monthly reading allows residents to detect a problem much quicker, such as water leaks.
Council member DeWayne Schroeder confirmed that Caledonia is pumping less water, which suggests more conciencious use of utilities.
Mann felt that once Caledonia had gone a full year with the new meters it would be easier to make comparisons.
The council agreed to hire Stadtler Masonry to perform tuckpointing on the auditorium. The council felt there were several areas on the building that would require tuckpointing in the future but chose to have the work done in stages.
Schoonover suggested money could be set aside each year until the entire building has been redone. The auditorium columns are the area most in need of work. The council passed a motion to pay Stadtler $5,000 to begin work on the 10 pillars caps. This will prevent further water from pooling in cracks and freezing in the winter. The council’s target is to have a different side of building tuckpointed each year.
Beating the heat
In response to the recent heat wave hitting the community the council is seeking ways to help residents beat the heat. Several residents do not have access to air conditioning and, with the closing of the pool for the season, options for cooling down are limited.
Caledonia has made the basement of the auditorium available in the past; however, there is no elevator access to basement. Last year the basement of the new County Justice Center was made available, and the council requested its use again, to which the County Board agreed to the next day.
• Naaren and Travis Kingsly are planning on building a new vet clinic on the current location of the old creamery on Old 44 Road. The old building will be razed and replaced with new building. The public hearing for the zoning application is Monday, Sept. 23 during the regular Caledonia City Council meeting.
• The ambulance subsidy contract with Wilmington Township was approved by the council.
• The annual Joint Powers Agreement with the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension was approved.