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Winsted amends noise ordinance
Jan. 5, 2018

By Starrla Cray
Associate Editor

WINSTED – The Winsted City Council voted Jan. 2 to amend its noise ordinance, making it consistent with Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) guidelines.

“There seems to be widespread consensus for a more objective noise standard,” City Administrator Dan Tienter said before the vote, explaining that Winsted’s previous ordinance was vague and difficult to enforce.

The new standard sets decibel limits based on land use at that location, time of day, and duration of the sound. For residential locations, nighttime (10 p.m. to 7 a.m.) noise cannot exceed 55 decibels for more than six minutes and cannot exceed 50 decibels for more than 30 minutes. (Exceptions are made for special events.)

When the topic was addressed at the Dec. 19 city council work session, Council Member Patty Fitzgerald suggested that Winsted add a statement to address a noise spike occurring on a regular basis. Tienter checked with the city attorney about this, though, and was advised not to add it because of vagueness and difficulty of enforcement.

More detail about the ordinance discussion was printed in the Friday, Dec. 22 edition of the Herald Journal.

New light poles in the future

In a few years, 36 new light poles might be on the way for areas of Winsted’s downtown. The city had originally considered refurbishing the existing poles, but after testing the idea with one pole at the intersection of First Street North and Andy Avenue West, the results were not as good as expected.

“Repainting exacerbated the imperfections in the pole’s surface,” Tienter said at Tuesday’s work session, explaining that the poles are 33 years old.

With refurbishment, Millerbernd Manufacturing in Winsted estimated that the poles would last another 15 years.

When factoring in life expectancy, Tienter said the cost per year of new light poles would be similar to the cost of refurbishing the old ones.

The cost for a refurbished (galvanized and painted) light pole is estimated at $615, while the cost for a new light pole would be $1,428. Both options would have an added cost of $400 for the light fixture.

Assuming a 15-year lifespan for the refurbished poles, the total cost per year would be $67.67. Conversely, a new pole would cost $52.23 per year, assuming a 35-year life expectancy.

The council plans to consider approving new light poles in the near future, but will wait to install the poles until improvements are made on McLeod County Road 116. The new light poles would then be part of this project, which could take place in three to five years.

“I think it’s important that, whatever we do, that we have Millerbernd do the work,” Council Member Tom Ollig said.

Fees for 2018

The council adopted an ordinance establishing fees for 2018, with a 2 percent increase for inflation for most fees (rounded to the nearest dollar). A few exceptions are outlined below:

• planning and zoning – a general increase of 5.88 percent to reflect a change in planning consultant rates from $85 to $90 per hour.

• sewer rate per 1,000 gallons – from $11.39 to $12.53.

• sewer rate minimum per month – from $9.01 to $9.92.

• vehicle impound fee – $100 (new fee).

• vehicle storage fee for impounded vehicles –$2 per day (new fee).

• city storage damage deposit – $78 (new fee).

• fireworks permit fee – from $25 to $50.

Odds and ends

In other business, the council:

• scheduled a city council goal setting session for Tuesday, Jan. 23 at 9 a.m. in the Vollmer Room at city hall. The meeting is expected to last until about 3 p.m.

• authorized Metro West Inspection Services to conduct building code administration on public buildings for the City of Winsted.

• authorized a proposal with Banyon Data Systems for the purchase of a payroll timecard interface, installation, and training for an amount not to exceed $3,390.

• accepted the voluntary resignation of Andrew Lundeen as a part-time police officer.

• authorized an agreement with Conway, Deuth and Schmiesing to conduct an audit of the city’s financial statements for 2017, for an approximate cost of $30,500.

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