Each Weekly Memo to the City Council is also provided on the City Council web page.
East Grand Forks hosts energy efficiency event
On Wednesday, the East Grand Forks Civic Center hosted a regional Minnesota Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) event on energy efficiency in ice arenas. The forum also discussed energy efficiency best practices and opportunities for all public buildings. There were about 30 attendees from several communities as far away as Brookings, South Dakota. East Grand Forks was able to present its recently-unveiled energy study of the City’s three indoor arenas: the Civic Center, the VFW Arena, and the Blue Line Club Arena. The studies were partially funded by CERTs. The studies are attached and will be discussed at an upcoming work session. According to the studies, the City can save nearly 50 percent of its energy consumption at the Civic Center, representing total savings of over $40,000 annually, by performing relatively simple upgrades to items such as lighting, exterior walls, windows, door seams, and ceilings. The other arenas are more efficient than the Civic Center, but there are still improvements that can be made with relatively small investments. While actual savings can vary, the opportunities for the arenas look very promising. Most recommended upgrades have a payback period under five years. The forum also provided an opportunity to discuss newly unveiled programs from the State Department of Commerce. I spoke to Eric Rehm, the project manager for the Guaranteed Energy Savings Program (GSEP). We both feel that there are excellent opportunities for the City and the state to partner in these programs to provide long-term efficient solutions to most of the City’s public buildings. Overall, the forum was well worth the three hour investment. And, the energy study will pay dividends for years to come as it relates both to the arenas specifically and to the statewide attention that our study garnered.
State Capital Bonding
The Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) is currently reviewing funding applications for the competitive Capital Projects Grant Program. The program was allocated $46.5 million from the state bonding bill of the last legislative session. Governor Dayton has indicated that he will personally review and select projects based upon recommendations from DEED. East Grand Forks requested $4.5 million in the program for waste water treatment improvements. Total requests are over $288 million for the $46.5 million total allocation. Award announcements are expected in late September. One can view a full list of the applications attached to this memo or at http://www.positivelyminnesota.com/About_Us/Competitive_Contract_Opportunities/Capital_Projects_Grant_Program.aspx.
Legacy Funds Dispute
There is a current disagreement between several Twin Cities parks agencies and the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Coalition (GMRPTC) regarding the allocation of the state Legacy funding for parks and trails. In the past, metro parks and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) were each guaranteed 43 percent of total state parks and trails funding, while the remaining 14 percent was allocated to a statewide competitive process. Plus, any grants that were allotted from the 14 percent competition to outstate projects had a $500,000 cap, while metro allocations did not have a cap. The Greater Minnesota Parks and Trails Coalition was formed in part to respond to the unfair allocation that did not allocate any funding specific to Greater Minnesota. In the last legislative session, the GMRPTC was successful in obtaining new legislation that guaranteed the same 43 percent to metro parks while the DNR received 37 percent and Greater Minnesota was guaranteed 20 percent. While the GMPTC still considered a 20 percent allocation too low, it was giant leap from the previous legislation that guaranteed a vast majority of the funds to the metro area. Recently, the Twin Cities agencies passed resolutions calling the current allocation “unfair” because metro areas generate 64 percent of Legacy funding via the state sales tax, and 54 percent of the state’s population is in the metropolitan area. Even taking the Twin Cities arguments at face value, the numbers would indicate that 36 percent of funding comes from Greater Minnesota and 46 percent of the population lives in Greater Minnesota, yet Greater Minnesota is guaranteed only 20 percent of the allocation. That analysis does not take into account the actual locations of regional and state parks. Yet, the Twin Cities groups maintain that Greater Minnesota receives a disproportionate share of Legacy funding. The debate will likely be a contentious issue in the next legislative session. Therefore, the GMRPTC is asking for member cities, including East Grand Forks, to adopt a resolution that supports the current allocation of 20 percent Greater Minnesota funding and to advocate for a larger Greater Minnesota share in the future. A good review by of the issue by the St. Cloud Times can be found at: http://www.sctimes.com/article/20120812/NEWS01/308120037/Battle-over-Legacy-fund-splits-outstate-metro-areas.
Public Works, Jason Stordahl
Heritage Days starts 8/17/2012, and with this event there is a parade scheduled this Saturday from 9:30am-11am. See parade route on City Web, under “things to do”. You can expect minor traffic delays downtown during the parade.
Police Department, Chief Mike Hedlund
EGFPD Seized/Forfeited Vehicle Auction
The East Grand Forks Police Department is going to be having an auction of vehicles that have been seized through drug investigations or DWI arrests. The vehicles are being prepared for sale and will be available for viewing in the East Grand Forks Police Department parking lot. Bidding for this auction is only possible online. Interested persons should go to www.govdeals.com for more information and to bid on any of the vehicles. Information should go online on Friday August 17, 2012.
EGFPD Awarded Alcohol Enforcement Grant
The East Grand Forks Police Department has been awarded a $4,000 grant from the Invitation Health Institute to pay for officers to work overtime on an “Enhanced College Enforcement” program. The program is designed to help prevent alcohol use and abuse by college age students through extra enforcement efforts by law enforcement. The EGFPD program will involve officers working in plain clothes and responding to loud party calls, working cooperatively with alcohol retailers to minimize opportunities for minors to gain access to alcohol and other related enforcement efforts. The program will target special events at both Northland Community and Technical College and the University of North Dakota.
Water and Light Department, Dan Boyce
The repairs and recoating project at the South water tower are essentially completed. The tank has been disinfected and passed the bacteriological test. The tank was returned to service as of Wednesday, August 15, 2012. The engineer and inspector are preparing the final punch list for the contractor to address in preparation for the contract close out.
The Water and Light Department also installed an active mixer in the tower to aid in maintaining disinfectant residuals and reduce ice formation in the tower the winter.
Library, Charlotte Helgeson
Preconstruction meeting for the Library’s Roof Repair is scheduled for August 23 at 11:30 in the Library’s large meeting room.
The Library’s Art Collection is on display. All of the artwork is available for a two-month checkout to current patrons. The Collection includes original watercolor and acrylic paintings, photography and Deer Hunters Association prints.
The Library’s next season of programming is being scheduled tentatively as the Library waits on the results of numerous grant applications.
Fire Department, Interim Chief Gary Larson
The Fire Dept was involved in many events over the last couple weeks. We had people down at Catfish days with the boat and medical equipment.
We sent people over to Grand Forks for National Night Out. The weather was not the best, but we took our pickup and boat as well as set up fire targets for the kids to spray water at with a fire hose. There was a good turn out by the public and by the different agencies.
Friday we had a team from B shift that went to Grand Forks to compete in the Float your Pote. They competed against Grand Forks Parks and Rec, and East Grand Forks Fire defeated them with style.
We had a good turnout for the 125th celebration. We had 7 units in the parade, we were at the fireworks, and put up the aerial to film the event downtown with the fireworks in the background, and we had a good turnout for the Tribute event. Overall I heard good things about the celebration and our guys had a good time.
Training this month has been on some of our new nozzles that we purchased from the last grant. It went well and is some very nice equipment. The rope rescue team met and did some additional training at the bean plant in EGF. They are working on a lot of high level rappelling and removing victims from high levels. They do a very good job.