Watershed board of managers approve biannual meetings

The Shell Rock River Watershed District board of managers confirmed its intention to work together with the Albert Lea City Council Tuesday morning.

The board unanimously approved presenting biannually before the Albert Lea City Council about the district’s activities, expenditures and revenue uses.

The council on Monday approved changing legislative language for the renewal of a half-percent sales tax by a 4-3 vote to include biannual meetings for district leaders in front of the council. The legislative language is planned for final approval April 25.

Albert Lea City Manager Chad Adams said the agreement is separate from the approval made by the council.

He hopes the two entities will reach a consensus on agreement terms by early next week.

Laura Lunde, president of the Lakes Foundation, said she is thankful the Freeborn County Board of Commissioners approved support for the renewal of the sales tax last week, and noted she hopes the City Council moves in a clear direction.

Watershed Board Chairman Gary Pestorius said biannual meetings before the council are a good idea, and noted the Watershed District holds public meetings each month.

Board member Mick Delger said appearing before the council gives Watershed District officials a chance to advertise the good things they have done.

City councilors have expressed their support for the Watershed District’s request for an extension of the sales tax by either 15 years or until $15 million has been collected, and for the measure to be on November’s ballot. The funds raised from the tax go to support water quality improvements.

Watershed District Administrator Brett Behnke said he wants the Watershed District to continue with its mission for clean lakes.

He said he wants the community to focus on the Watershed District’s progress and long-range water quality plan.

The board also approved a contract for WSB & Associates, a professional consultant and design firm, for $5,998 to conduct an evaluation of possible wetland impacts on the farms of Larry Wangen and Richard Stadheim, who sold land to the district for a confined disposal facility on the properties.

Water and sediment removed from Fountain Lake during the dredging will be taken to the land, where the confined disposal facility will be used to settle the sediment and siphon off the water.

The board of managers approved separate purchase agreements with Stadheim and Wangen last month. The properties are adjacent to each other, north of Interstate 90 and 1 1/2 miles north of Fountain Lake.

© 2015 Shell Rock River Watershed District, 305 S 1st Avenue, Albert Lea, MN 56007