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City committees busy before Thanksgiving

By Staff | Nov 30, 2018

Rugby’s city government offices ended their week last Wednesday due to the Thanksgiving holiday, but most committees met at City Hall that day as scheduled.

Topics for discussion in the finance committee meeting included the need to budget for new water meters and related equipment, investigating loan options for a new street sweeper, and purchasing a security camera system for the city’s water plant and shop.

Water meters topped the finance committee’s concerns as Water Department Supervisor Greg Boucher gave Mayor Sue Steinke and members a heads up about the lifespan of the meters and meter transceiver units, or MXUs. The MXUs enable workers to read meters remotely.

Boucher told the committee, “The MXUs are warrantied for 10 years we’ve already got 8; they were put in 2011, and we changed meters (then).”

Boucher went on to say the devices give warnings when their functionality begins to wane, but “it’s not going to be a question of can you make it another month when they’re dead, they’re dead. It won’t make it another month.”

The meters themselves have a similar lifespan, and Boucher said replacing them is the most efficient way to make sure readings are accurate and the city doesn’t lose revenue. He also pointed out some properties were missed when workers installed new meters in 2011. “Some of these (meters) are 60 years old,” he noted.

Steinke asked about meters for outlying areas, such as the Little Flower Catholic Cemetery.

“We need to address all these people that (have old meters),” Steinke said.

“We need all of those fixed (properties not hooked to meters) any of those lines that have never had meters out there, they need to have meters,” she added.

City Auditor Jennifer Stewart brought up the need for a new street sweeper, and discussed grant and loan programs to finance the purchase of a new one. She said the city’s present sweeper is old enough to qualify for a state program to replace old equipment, provided the new equipment was manufactured after 2017.

The committee discussed two bids for security camera systems that would provide a feed from city properties directly to the Rugby Police Department. Chair Chuck Longie approved a motion to accept a bid made by CompCam of Bottineau for the project.

Stewart also discussed a new comprehensive land use plan for 2019, and mentioned training sessions offered by the Souris Basin Planning Council to help with plan development.

Before adjournment, the committee discussed and approved an advertising budget submitted by Rugby Broadcasters.

The buildings/property committee met to discuss the status of the Rugby Armory roof and building’s condition, and to discuss opening contract bids for maintenance services on an as-needed basis.

Stewart brought up the need for a job description for the work, and the committee discussed the possibility the work could result in a permanent position with the City at a later date.

Committee member Joel Berg and Steinke noted reports from maintenance personnel about high school students who use the armory for activities not cleaning up the facility. “We have items, jackets and sweaters left on the stage,” Stewart noted.

Because the school’s contract stipulates the school would clean up after activities, the committee voted to give the school a January 1 deadline to take unclaimed clothing and property from the building, and clean up areas used for activities.

However, Steinke and the committee agreed the use for school and youth activities was a positive thing. “That’s what (the facilities) are there for,” Stewart said.

Stewart brought up the need to consolidate city records. After examining the cost of digitizing all records, Steinke suggested purchasing map-size filing cabinets to accommodate the volume of records that, at present, she described as “all over.”

Earlier in the day, recreation committee chair Joel Berg mentioned the need for cleanup at the armory. He also reported work on an outdoor skating rink and warming house was proceeding on schedule. Berg also reported an outdoor skating rink and warming house was proceeding as planned in the first committee meeting of the day.

The public safety committee discussed the need to remind residents the walkways in front of their properties must be shoveled within 48 hours of a new snowfall. Ordinances give the city the right to shovel the sidewalks of those who fail to maintain their walkways, and to assess fines for non-compliance.

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