City hires firm to design facility

FAIRMONT — Fairmont City Council took action Monday to hire ISG of Mankato to complete the design process for a new public works building to replace the current facility on East Margaret Street.

Troy Nemmers, city engineer/public works director, said ISG completed a feasibility study on the existing building in 2015 and found it to be deficient for current and future needs. The building was constructed in three phases in the 1960s and 1970s, and the study looked at salvaging portions of the old buildings as well as a new structure.

Based on ISG’s assessment, the council approved funds in the 2018 budget to hire a consultant to complete the design process for a new building. ISG’s proposal would provide professional services for the project at a fee of 7.5 percent of the construction cost, which would be $318,750 on the estimated $4.25 million cost. The time frame would allow for possibly bidding and construction in 2019.

Turning to another matter, the council heard from Vern Sprague of 230 S. Prairie Ave. about damage to his property that he claims is from city water. Sprague said the water was shut off in 2012, but there are “several thousand gallons of frozen water” in the basement. He said he notified the city Jan. 16 of a broken water shutoff, which he says caused the leak.

City Administrator Mike Humpal said the city’s insurance carrier through the League of Minnesota Cities is handling the claim. He advised Sprague to contact the carrier to leave the claim open and then wait until thaw to dig up the ground and find the source of the leak.

“You’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing,” Mayor Debbie Foster told Sprague, adding that any decision on the claim is in the hands of the insurance company. “That’s what we pay for our adjuster to do is represent the city.”

In other business, the council:

o Approved application for a Greater Minnesota Business Development Public Infrastructure Grant that would pay for half, or $450,000, of the cost to extend sanitary sewer and water mains to a new 37-acre industrial property at the corner of Interstate 90 and County Road 39. Current service extends to just north of the Martin County Fairgrounds. Linsey Preuss, Fairmont economic development director, told the council that if the city receives the grant it would have 18 months to begin the project and five years to finish it. The city would bond for its share of matching funds in 2019.

o Set a public hearing for 5:30 p.m. March 12 on a proposed ordinance to update the existing ordinance governing the city’s storm water management practices. The update will meet requirements of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. The proposed ordinance is available under “Popular Links” on the city’s website,

o Authorized the mayor to sign a Minnesota Department of Transportation Grant Agreement for a new maintenance vehicle at the airport. The grant, through the MnDOT Aeronautics Division, would cover 70 percent of the cost of a $43,000 vehicle, leaving the city to pay about $13,000. The new truck and plow would replace a 1981 vehicle.

o Reminded residents of the first council “listening” session set for 10-11 a.m. March 17 at the Knights of Columbus Hall. City staff will present a short program on code enforcement, and there will be no microphones or cameras at the informal session.