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Chief reports ‘fairly active’ July at committee meeting

By Sue Sitter - | Aug 28, 2021

Photo Sue Sitter/PCT City council members held committee meetings at Rugby City Hall Aug. 18.

Rugby police officers responded to 91 calls for service during July, according to a report given to the city public safety committee by Rugby Police Chief John Rose at their regular meeting Aug. 18.

Rose described the month as “fairly active.”

Officers issued 35 traffic citations including 13 for speeding, five for stop and yield sign violations and two for seat belt violations. Officers issued 15 citations for other violations. Additionally, officers made 41 arrests including 13 for criminal traffic violations and driving under the influence, 16 for drug or alcohol possession, one for a crime against a person and one for a municipal code violation. Officers served 10 warrants in July.

Officers also responded to six traffic collisions within city limits and 13 calls for medical assistance.

In other business, Rose told the committee he intended to place portable electronic speed limit signs in problems spots around the city. Members also discussed placing notices on residences in violation of city ordinances for the length of grass and weeds on lawns.

The Rugby public works committee met the same day. The committee voted to repair a 100,000-gallon water storage tank used during summer and other times when demand is heavy.

Members also reviewed water-sewer permit applications and heard updates from engineer Jim Olson on work done on 2 ¢ Avenue near Sixth Street Southeast.

Olson said the project was set “to go to bid in September, if we get USDA approval to do that. I’ve got one document left to come from Attorney (Bill) Hartl and that’s the preliminary title opinion that the city actually owns the property we’re going through (for the project),” Olson said. “Once I get that, we’ll put the gears in motion to ask Jerry from the USDA if we can get permission to go to bid.”

Olson added a steering committee for a comprehensive land use plan for the City of Rugby would take place at 11 a.m. Aug. 24.

“Anyone here who wants to attend, just come,” Rugby Mayor Sue Steinke said.

Olson said the city had already submitted an application to the state water commission for a 60 percent grant to replace water lines from the wells to the city plant. Olson said he would also apply for a grant for new clarifiers at the city water treatment plant. The deadline to apply for the clarifier grant is in October.

North Dakota State Representative John Nelson attended the public works meeting as a representative of All Seasons Water District.

Committee members also viewed a video tour of problem areas in Rugby’s sewer system.

Olson said problem areas plugged with what he called “sludge, gravel, grease and sewage” include Fourth Street at Ellery Park and many other parts of North Rugby. The area near Rugby’s softball diamonds had “heavy roots infiltrating and holding water and that’s where all that sludge from the laundromat area is coming down, meandering through and riding on top.”

“As you can see, a wheel on the camera is just spinning because the camera can’t get through at that point,” Olson said of the footage.

“What you’re seeing is all this stuff is halfway to 90 percent clogged, so the sewage is just riding on top,” Olson explained.

Olson said Pipe Detectives, the company who sent the camera through the sewer lines, “Did a good job of clearing the roots and cleaning them out.”

Olson added most of the problems stem from cracks in clay pipe along the lines. Pipes through Main Avenue are made of polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, which Olson said was a better material. When asked by member Frank LaRocque if roots caused more problems in PVC pipe than clay pipe, Olson said they were “a lot less of a problem” in PVC pipe.

Committee member Gary Kraft noted despite the problems identified in city sewer lines, “We haven’t had any problems.”

The city buildings committee heard updates from Olson on proposed repairs to the armory. Olson told the committee a grant application from Souris Basin Planning Council had been denied because Souris Basin had required a building renovation that would amount to more than $2 million.

Olson reported workers had patched leaks on the armory roof.

The committee voted to send a proposal to replace a roof on the city swimming pool building to the city council. The new roof would be black to accommodate winter snow loads. Mention of the black roof sparked an idea by City Auditor Jennifer Stewart and others to paint the pool building with an orange and black color scheme to support Panthers of Rugby High School next door.

The committee also reviewed a proposal to replace overhead doors and windows at the pool building.

The committee approved repairs to the wall of the pool building and replace internal supports, known as girts.

Members noted the pool remains open from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. for adult swim. No lifeguards are on duty.

Recreation committee members heard updates on a picnic shelter and a dugout at the city softball diamonds and discussed job descriptions for the seasonal recreation manager and recreation director positions.

Rec committee members also discussed results of a survey given to parents of participants in summer baseball, softball and T-ball programs. Survey results said most parents approved of their children’s uniforms and the level of communication between the director and parents. However, parents also expressed concern about the small age gap between some high school-age coaches and their older elementary school-age players, adding they preferred more mature coaches.

Finance committee members studied the budget for the park board through 2023 and a franchise fee should Otter Tail Power Company assume responsibility for light poles within the city.

City committees will next meet Sept. 22 at city hall.

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