By Kelley Stanage
The Caledonia City Council accepted the resignation of Council member Tom Murphy at their meeting on Feb. 24.
City Administrator Ted Schoonover recommended the open seat be advertised. The seat must be filled by appointment until a special election is held, along with the general election, to fill the remaining two years of Murphy’s term.
Council member Randi Vick requested that a thank you letter be sent to Murphy for his service.
Contacted after the meeting, Schoonover said, “It is sad to see him go. He has been a very conservative and fiscally responsible councilman. He will definitely be missed and will be hard to replace.”
Reflecting on his five years of service on the council during a telephone conversation, Murphy said, “I have nothing but good things to say about the city and the council. It’s a great system that we have. I am pleased with the progress the council has made.”
Freezing water pipes
During the public comment portion of the meeting, a resident living on South Street in Caledonia informed the council that a water pipe to her home had frozen. She had it fixed and was advised to keep the water running to keep it from freezing again. She asked if the council had plans to reimburse residents for extra water use due to the extreme cold.
Schoonover said that homeowners are “responsible for everything out to the main.” Vick noted that if the council does that for one homeowner, they might receive many more requests.
Schoonover said that he was aware of only two other homeowners whose pipes had frozen. The visitor said she had heard there were five others that had to be fixed with welders. Council member DeWayne Schroeder said using welders to fix pipes can be dangerous and could lead to house fires if not done correctly.
Schroeder made a quick calculation of how much water would be used if a homeowner were to run a pencil-thin stream of water for a month. It would amount to 12 gallons per hour, or 288 gallons per day. For one month, that would be about 8,640 gallons, which would amount to roughly $90.
The council acknowledged that other communities are handling the matter in a variety of different ways. Some are providing adjustments on water bills, while others are not.
As this issue had not been on the agenda, the council took no action, and noted that they would consider it during a future meeting.
In other business
A resolution was approved accepting donations in the amount of $2,000 to the EMS Department.
The Southeastern Minnesota Emergency Medical Services Equipment Grant was approved (up to a maximum of $2,000 after the city’s share of 25 percent has been subtracted.)
A gambling permit submitted by Caledonia Founders Day Inc. was approved for April 11-12.
Matt Blocker, city electrician, presented bids for the electrical project. Karian Peterson was the low bidder at $455,098. Resco was the low bidder for the equipment at $295,424. Bell Lumber was the low bidder for the poles at $10,113. All three low bids were approved. The work will start May 1 and will be performed by the same employees who have done the work in Caledonia for the last three years.
Employee time records and police reports and schedules were reviewed.
The meeting was closed for negotiations strategy with the Caledonia Police Association, after which no action was announced.