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Perham City Council discusses possible improvements to city streets

The Perham City Council discussed potential improvement projects to Fifth Avenue SE, Fourth Street NW, Fifth Avenue NW and Lake Avenue at Monday night's regular council meeting.

The council first heard a report from Jade Berube of Ulteig Engineering on the proposed surface improvements to Fourth Street NW, Fifth Avenue NW and Lake Avenue. The report had been requested by the city council in November to explore the potential for improvements as petitioned by a majority landowner.

According to the engineering report, the total estimated cost for both the improvements and an alternate for Lake Avenue is $570,500. The council voted to hold a public hearing at the next regular meeting to hear from the property owners who would be affected by the project.

Due to the high price of the project and to the cost for the property owners, Mayor Tim Meehsaid that he expects a negative reaction from the public at the hearing, which will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 14.

With the meeting falling on Valentine's Day, "there might not be a lot of love in the room that night," Meehl said.

Property owners that will be affected by the proposed improvements will be notified in the mail in the coming weeks.

The council then heard a report from Berube on the proposed plans for improvement to Fifth Avenue SE, which will also include excavating pipes underneath the East Otter Tail County Fairgrounds.

According to the engineering report, the estimated total cost of the project is $713,000.

City Manager Kelcey Klemm explained that this project is primarily an underground improvement project, and will be put off until likely the first week of August, after the completion of the East Otter Tail Fair.

The council voted to hold a second public hearing at next month's meeting to hear comments on the project.

The council also voted to request proposals for engineering services for the proposed expansion project for the Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The city had submitted a grant for state funds to expand the facility, but was turned out, so instead will look at hiring an engineering firm to do the work. Klemm said that he hopes that bids from firms can be examined and discussed at the next council meeting to decide how to move forward.

In other business, the council accepted the 2011 budget for the Perham Area Community Center. Kevin Nelson, manager of the PACC, said that the budget for 2011 is very similar to the 2010 budget. According to the PACC's budget worksheet, the total operating expenditures for 2011 is $760,064.49, compared to $759,269.56 in 2010.

All newly elected officers also took the oath of office at the beginning of the meeting. Mayor Tim Meehl and council members Fred Lehmkuhl, Harriet Mattfeld and Eric Spencer were all sworn in for their new terms by Klemm.

City offices will be closed for Martin Luther King Day on Monday, Jan. 17. The next regular city council meeting is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 14 at 5:15 p.m.