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Backus contracts with PRASD for city maintenance

Pine River Area Sanitary District (PRASD) employees will be handling year round maintenance in Backus thanks to an agreement between PRASD and the City of Backus.

Duties include snow plowing, mowing and maintenance on city hall and the townhomes, among other duties.

The city already contracts with PRASD for water and sewer services.

The total cost for maintenance and for the water and sewer contract for two years is $3,200 per month, according to City Clerk Jeff Turk.

Water meter project

Backus’ meter project to replace water meters on homes was almost complete as of the Nov. 5 council meeting.

This summer the council opted to purchase their own water meters – and have them installed – rather than including the project cost in their $3.2 million wastewater project.

As a result of the new meters, three leaks have been found.

Councilor Steve Braker asked the council to waive charging a $25 water turn-off and $25 turn-on fee for seasonal residents. He suggested a single $25 disconnection/connection fee instead. His motion died for lack of a second.

Wastewater project

S.E.H. Engineer Greg Kimman reported that he met with Rural Development and that the city’s wastewater project is progressing. Nov. 5 the council authorized S.E.H. to proceed with the preliminary project design and to submit it to Rural Development.

Rocky Dock project

The council plans electrical and lighting improvements to the Rocky Dock park. The total project cost total is $5,546. That amount will be offset by a $1,000 Minnesota Power grant.

Backus has funds for business loans

In 2006 the city received $204,512 in DEED Community Development Block Grant program funds to make available to Eveland’s Inc., as a loan for rebuilding after the fire that destroyed the Scamp Trailer manufacturing plant.

Eveland’s adhered to the loan requirements (retaining 30 employees, hiring 12 additional workers within two years, and ensuring that 51 percent of the new jobs went to low-to-moderate-income individuals).

A portion of the money paid back is available for the city to loan out to other businesses.

In other city matters:

• The council approved accepting a $3,501.50 bid from Richard Arnold, Hackensack, to purchase the former 1989 Ford F-700 Backus fire truck.

• The council approved class 5 and bobcat work for the alley behind post office.

• The council approved changes to the senior townhome handbook to address children living with residents.

• The council approved canceling the city’s cellular telephone service.