Friday at noon, City officials lifted the advisory against contact with the Cannon River downstream from the Northfield Wastewater Treatment Plant. Public Works Director Dave Bennett, Mayor Pownell and City Administrator Martig were in studio Friday morning. That full interview is online at kymnradio.net. With 3 major events at the facility in the last 6 months, flood, fire and now the discharging of a million gallons of wastewater, the community is asking questions. And there’s been an exit of long time
employees in the Public Works department. Some with decades of service. Some have gone on to other jobs, three to LeSueur and others retiring. Sources say they were unhappy with changes made to the hiring structure. Mayor Pownell said on Friday, “it was a reorganization that was done that was authorized by the City council. Our City staff brought back the study that was done about the reorganization and that was a formally adopted by the City Council”, adding, “and would love to know if there are any concerns out there or what you’re hearing so that we as policy setters can follow up on those concerns”. Martig said he believes the staffing levels are right and has confidence in those on site. He says more people are actually working at the treatment plant. A source tells KYMN that the losses amount to 130 years of experience between the Water and Wastewater departments. Martig reiterated in the interview that all 3 incidents are completely separate, saying, “you can’t just also assume that because we had these major issues that they’re all interrelated. We’re looking at each one of them and trying to learn from it and making some changes potentially with those”. I spoke with Cathy Rofshus from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s communications department. She said these treatment plants are aging all over the state and called it a “crisis”. She added that an investigation could take a few weeks to 6 months depending on their staff levels. The MPCA’s goal is to get the City into compliance, so fines may NOT be a part of that. Mayor Pownell created a video regarding the Plant, it’s on our website and on the City’s.
Dundas Council votes on sending 1/2 cent sales tax to voters
Dundas Council meets tonight. On their agenda is a vote to allow a ½ cent sales tax to go to voters for the ice arena/civic center. David Ludescher, a local attorney has questioned the legality of Dundas collecting money for the Northfield facility, as well as allowing 30% of the dollars raised to go to parks. Administrator John McCarthy reports that staff has continued to work with the Brennan Companies regarding a proposal to redevelop the “Old School” property. It is anticipated Brennan will submit an offer to purchase. If the offer is submitted in enough time for the City’s consultants to properly review, a closed meeting to consider an offer for the purchase of real property. We will hear more from McCarthy tomorrow morning at 8:45.
Nfld looking for Election Judges
The City of Northfield is seeking interested individuals to serve as election judges for the Primary Election on August 14th and the General Election on November 6th. Election judges administer election procedures. They receive pay, unless they choose to serve as volunteers. By law, employers must give election judges time off from work to serve. In addition to serving on Election Day, judges must complete required training that will be approximately two hours in length. For more information, contact City Clerk Deb Little at 507-645-3001 or Deb.Little@ci.northfield.mn.us
I-35 drops to Single Lane till Fall
According to MnDot, road work on I-35 starts today. Motorists on the interstate near Faribault will encounter single lane, head to head traffic as crews pave approximately 4 miles of southbound I-35 between Co. Rd. 9 to Hwy 21. The $8 million project is expected to last till Fall.