Truman talks communication systems

TRUMAN– The Truman City Council on Monday discussed a city automated communications system.

Mayor Terry Bentele brought up that recently over Memorial Day Weekend, the city worked to contact residents regarding a boil notice that was issued among work on the city’s water tower.

“There were some people that knew about it and some that didn’t know about it,” he said.

Bentele said he’d like the council to talk about what else they can do to ensure that everyone receives notice when it’s needed.

“If it’s put on Facebook, a lot of the elderly people don’t use Facebook. We might want to think of other things that will supplemental that as well,” Bentele said.

He talked about using area radio stations or some kind of phone system.

Council Member Patty Truax agreed that it’s often harder to make sure the elderly population receives notice.

Bentele noted that there are older people who are living alone who maybe don’t have anyone to contact them.

Utility Foreman Brent Brown said a phone system is only good if people update their phone numbers. He said a lot of the numbers they have don’t work. Bentele said they could ask people to submit a phone number that works when they pay their electric bills and Brown said they’ve tried that and it hasn’t worked.

“That’s not our fault, then. We can only do what we can,” said Bentele.

Brown said they’ve looked at using the Code RED system, which the city has previously used. The system provides emergency and critical communication to citizens in minutes. However, with Code RED, residents need to sign up and use it. Police Chief Justin Jobe said in the past they only had about 100 people sign up to use it.

“Any system we get, we’ll run into the same issues we’ve had with Code RED,” Brown said.

Council Member Brian Nickerson said he thinks it’s best to record a message and if something is wrong, residents can call it.

“I’m just very concerned if something happens in town, there’s really no way to get a hold of the majority of people,” said Bentele.

Moving to utility business, Brown said they can expect a pretty substantial bill due to the recent water main breaks. He said they can look not using some Covid relief money to help pay the bills.

“I would think we’d have to,” said Bentele.

Brown said while they haven’t gotten the invoice yet, he anticipates they’ll have it by the time of the next regular council meeting.

Brown also said that the city of Amboy has asked for assistance as it doesn’t have an operator right now.

Truax asked if they have time to do that and Brown said he estimates it will take an hour to get samples, plus drive time.

“I’m okay with helping out another small town. That’s what we do,” Truax said.

Moving to other matters, the council discussed campground policies and rates concerning a specific request. Truax said there is a resident having work done to their home who requested to have a camper there for month.

The council had previously discussed setting a monthly rate but hadn’t taken action on it. It was shared that a monthly rate at Perch Lake County Park is $450. The council also discussed setting it at $500.

“I think that’d be a fair figure,” said Nickerson.

City Clerk Melissa Sirovy asked if the council wanted to make it a policy or a single time approval. The council decided this would be a single time approval at $500 but that it would discuss it as a policy later.

The council also considered writing a letter of support to the Minnesota River Area Agency on Aging, which is working with Truman Active Living to apply for a Southern Minnesota initiative Foundation (SMIF) grant.

Deputy Clerk Carol Becker said if the city is awarded the $10,000, a committee will need to be formed to determine what the money will be used for. The designated money would need to be spent within a year.

“I think it’s nothing but good if they can get it,” said Nickerson.

The council voted to move forward with the letter of support


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