Owen Council hears from Public Works

By Cindy Cardinal
Posted 5/1/24

The Owen Common Council held their regular meeting on Tuesday, April 23. Mayor Jalling asked the council as they look at next year’s budget to look at possibly giving the Centennial Committee …

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Owen Council hears from Public Works


The Owen Common Council held their regular meeting on Tuesday, April 23. Mayor Jalling asked the council as they look at next year’s budget to look at possibly giving the Centennial Committee some funds toward the celebration. For the 75th anniversary, the city gave the committee $20,000 to work with.

The Owen sign on Highway 29 near Curtiss is leaning and alderperson Ken Martine asked for help to get it back upright and to install the new sign that is stored at the F&NE Depot. There was also a suggestion that the sign could be moved but that would involve a lot of paperwork. DPW Chad Smith agreed to take a look at it. Subsequent to the meeting, public works straightened the posts and installed the new sign.

DPW Chad Smith gave a lengthy Public Works Report. A check valve failed at the booster station. To rehab and replace the check valves will cost $1,300. The insulation was also removed from the pipes at the booster station and they were painted. Smith is hoping to be done with the Lead/Copper Inventory by early summer as he only has 56 more homes to go. He said there is grant money available to help property owners if they need to replace lead pipes. The water tower is scheduled for interior painting in August. He has the Consumer Confidence Report done and will be submitting it soon. Smith and Matt Bottlemy attended the WRWA conference in LaCrosse. Bottlemy passed his Solids Separation test and Smith passed his Advanced Wastewater test. They spoke to a number of vendors and attended educational sessions. Smith said there are more water and wastewater jobs that will be coming open than there are people to fill them. They responded to a report of a water leak on W. North Street that turned out to be a gas leak.

For wastewater the soft start failed at lift station number 1 and will cost $1,568.79 to replace. The standpipe at the wastewater plant has sprung a leak and won’t make it another year. Smith is currently working with MSA to get a cost for replacement. Public works helped with a sewer backup at Clark County Rehabilitation & Living Center. There was a sinkhole on 4th Street. Three of five services in that area have gravel coming in. For a temporary fix, they filled the hole and patched the area. Smith is having VisuSewer look at it to see if the pipes can be lined.

In the streets department, they plowed a little snow. They have their permit to oil the goose eggs. The DNR is willing to come in and do a roundup again. The cost is $3,500. It was suggested that some have had good luck with running string along the water’s edge. That might help keep the geese off the bike trail. The Owen Clean Sweep is coming up on May 4. Smith is working on getting bids to use his Local Road Improvement Program money. He will have to decide which street to do. He is also working on bids to replace the parking lot at City Hall. He talked to Josh Neilson, the renter of the city’s cropland as there were some issues, but Smith reported the discussion went well. They purchased a new lawn mower, this was budgeted for. They have also done some street sweeping.

Residents past due water bills were discussed. The past due amount is $32,867.68 and involves 38 residents. It was noted that 25 percent of these were renters. The bills can’t be tax rolled if the resident makes a payment plan. The water can also be shut off for non-payment. The council felt that they are going to have to start shutting water off for those not even making an attempt to pay. There were also questions about whether the money would be collected if it were tax rolled as some might be behind on their taxes also. The suggestion was made to send them a letter with a date they need to be caught up by. It will be on the next agenda for an update.

Mayor Jalling will represent the city in some upcoming mediation related to a court case.

The campground rules need to be approved and will be on the next agenda. The chargeback for Kerry Ingredients will also be on a future agenda with a report of the amount owed. The city has until February 2025 to pay it.