After completing negotiations with Bob and Linda LeMieur, owners of Bob LeMieur Rollsoffs Refuse and Recycling, the Little Falls City Council approved the curbside residential recycling contract. The decision was made on a 6-1 vote with Council Members Wayne Liljegren (Second Ward), Raquel Lundberg (First Ward), Mayor Greg Zylka, At Large Brad Hircock, Leif Hanson (First Ward) amd Frank Gosiak (Third Ward) voting “yes” and Council Member James Storlie (Third Ward) voting “no.” Council Member Jerry Knafla (Second Ward) was absent.

    Storlie said he voted “no” to the contract because he didn’t like the wording associated with LeMieur’s ability to sub-contract the recycling services to someone else without the approval of the City Council.

    “To me it seems like micro management of a private business, so if we start here, then where does it stop? If they don’t plan on doing it, then why is it even in the language?” Storlie said during the work session.

    City Administrator Jon Radermacher said that the language was included to prevent any potential issues from arising in the future.

    “We wanted some language like that in there because we want one vendor doing this task,” he said.

    The contract also includes a fuel rider for the first year only if the cost of fuel exceeds $4 per gallon, a new provision when it comes to handling the carts of people who are disabled and provisions for fees if there missed collections or damage to the carts.

    The rate of the first year of collection is $4.85 per resident per month to the hauler and increases cannot exceed 3% per year unless negotiated for exceptional circumstances.

    In addition to voting on the contract, the Council voted 7-0 for the city to purchase the carts for the one and two family recycling program.

    The carts will be identical as the garbage carts with the exception of a different colored lid that is stamped for recycling. Residents will also only be provided with 64-gallon recycling carts.

    Radermacher said that during the first year no additional containers will be provided for residents. However, the city will assess the needs for additional containers after the first year.

    The reason for a different colored lid is that it will be easier to distinguish between the containers for residents and pickup services. It also makes it easier for the city to manage the extra supply than if the city had two different carts altogether, Radermacher said.

    Working through Toter for quotes through the Sourcewell contract, Radermacher said the quote for ordering 3,000 64-gallon carts at $161,280 plus shipping at $17,687.52 is a total of $178,967.52. In addition, the cost of assembling and delivering the carts to the residents is $18,150. Combined, the total cost to the city is $197,117.52, which will be charged to the city’s garbage and recycling fund.

    Initially, the Council considered going with red lids on the recycling carts. However, the Council ultimately decided to go with a waste green color after Hanson said seeing a bunch red dots when looking down a street on pickup day wasn’t very appealing to the community. The color green, on the other hand, will likely blend in more with people’s lawns, Hanson said.

Little Falls City Council Briefs

    In other business Monday, the Little Falls City Council:

    • Heard an update from the Friends of Linden Hill. Although 2020 was a difficult year for the organization due to the pandemic, Linden Hill has received many bookings for the 2022 calendar.

    Repairs have also been made to the roof, the ceiling, the walls and one of the rooms upstairs of the Weyerhaeuser mansion due to water damage from the roof.

    A third legacy grant the organization received has allowed the organization to improve the barn on the Linden Hill grounds, which will be used to store artifacts and more. While the organization has received many comments on social media about the need to repair the caretaker’s cottage, the financial resources to do so is just isn’t there, said Larry Sharon, president of the Friends of Linden Hill.

    Christmas at the Mansions, an event where people can tour the holiday-decorated Weyerhaeuser and Musser mansions at Linden Hill, will begin the day after Thanksgiving, Nov. 25;

    • Accepted the following donations: $50 from Shirley Arvidson for the Police Department; a memorial marker from John Gamradt for Gamradt Park; $10,600 from Golfers Organized for Little Falls for the golf course; $10,715.24 from the Little Falls Fire Relief Association for a camera for the Fire Department; $100 from the Maple Island Condos for the Fire Department; $5,000 from West Side Improvement Association for Gamradt Park and the donation of an anonymous member of the Little Falls Country Club, who wants to purchase a Toro leaf blower for the golf course;

    • Was informed that for the month of September, the animal control officer responded to a total of 44 complaints. Of those, 19 animals were impounded, eight dead animals were picked up and 17 were other miscellaneous call;

    • Held a public hearing to vacate portions of public right of way, block 5 by the County Club addition. No public comments were made;

    • Approved an on sale, on sale Sunday and off sale liquor licenses to Linden Hill, beginning Jan. 1, 2022, contingent upon the appropriate paperwork, insurance fees, being provided, back ground investigation is completed and approval is granted by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division and the police chief. Police Chief Greg Schirmers reviewed and approved the requests;

    • Approved a special event permit for the West Side Improvement Association to hold the Santa Parade, Friday, Nov. 26, from 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in downtown Little Falls;

    • Approved the Police Department to replace its current Barracuda Backup 390 device with a Barracuda Backup 490 at a cost of $21,340, which includes a three-year service agreement on the device with cloud storage. The device serves as a backup for a large portion of the data systems at the police department. The current backup is reaching its maximum storage capacity and the maintenance agreement of it is also set to expire in November. The city budgeted for this device this year;

    • Approved the quotation of $14,000 with BHH Partners and Contegrity Group for the preliminary design of a clubhouse renovation project, contingent upon City Attorney review and approval of, to be charged to the Golf Improvement Fund;

    • Approved the quotation of up to $5,000 from Athmanns Outdoors in Little Falls to test for disease, such as oak wilt, and trim trees at the Golf Course, to be charged to the Golf Operating Fund. The funds were budgeted this year to address the trees at the golf course;    

    •Approved change order no. 2, an additional reimbursement of $9,615.11, for constructing runway 18-36 and install medium intensity runway lighting system at the Little Falls/Morrison County Airport, because of HA price increases (factoring in oil price increases and wage increases);

    • Approved the wayfinding signs that were created as part of a grant-funded project through Region 5, which highlights the art, dress, natural resources and the history of the Ojibwe people;

    • Approved a variance for Merjer Housing to expand a non-conforming dwelling, located at 811 South Lindbergh Drive; and

    • Certified delinquent utility accounts of property taxes and other accounts at a total of $73,824.42, for collection. The total amount includes a $50 filing fee on each account as an administrative fee for every certification.

    The Little Falls City Council next special work session and regular meeting will be Monday, Nov. 15, at 6:30 p.m.

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