Upsala finding efficient ways to decorate for Christmas

By Jennie ZeitlerStaff Writer


Christmas decorations in Upsala hold 1,700 bulbs, leading the City Council to look for more cost-effective ways to light up the town during the holiday season.

“We put in 1,200 new bulbs this year at about 25 cents each,” said Maintenance Supervisor Frank Koopmeiners. “It seems like we are replacing more and more each year.”

“We need to look at a less expensive way of doing it — even if we need to spend some money up front,” said Council Member Brian Lange.

The Council voted to authorize the purchase of electric eyes for all decorations so they shut off during the day, saving one-third of the electrical cost of operating them. The cost will be $250, with Koopmeiners doing the installation.

“This will hopefully lengthen the life of the bulbs,” Koopmeiners said.

After discussing the age of the current decorations, which the city has been displaying for 10 years, Mayor Rollie Johnson said, “Maybe it’s time for a new set, something different. Residents and non-residents have said that they would like something different – some color added to our Christmas decorations.”

Finding decorations that use light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs was discussed.

“Christmas decorations are important to the community even though it costs some money,” said City Administrator Adrian Welle. “Holiday cheer is priceless.”


Other business that came before the Upsala City Council Monday included:

• Hearing that the city wells were checked by Thein Well. “They recommended that pump four, behind the shed, be pulled and checked,” said Maintenance Supervisor Frank Koopmeiners. “It hasn’t been done since 2004, but should be done by next summer;”

• Approving the purchase of a pickup for the maintenance department. It’s a 2011 Chevrolet offered by Upsala Motors with nearly 26,000 miles and a three-year factory warranty, at a cost of $21,528.58. The old 2000 pickup has 152,000 miles on it, but was accepted as a trade-in for $1,000;

•Approving the installation of five new streetlights on Hillcrest Avenue, at the corner of Oak and Hillcrest, east of the Valley View Apartments, behind the community center on the alley and on Basswood Avenue. The monthly cost to the city will be $89.30;

• Approving the water treatment plant painting contract to Heineman painting with one change. Since they are not bonded, the city will waive that requirement. Heineman will then be paid upon completion of the job;

• Approving the final levy certification, the same as the preliminary, with a 2.63 percent increase. “It’s the first levy increase in seven years,” said City Administrator Adrian Welle’

• Approving the renewal of a contract with Schultz Auctioneers Landmark Realty to sell the Blonigen property at the county’s valuation of $10,500. A contract for the sale of property at the intersection of highways 21 and 238 was not renewed;

• Approving liquor licenses for Molly’s on Main for on sale, off sale and Sunday, and for the Bullfrog Bar and Grill for on sale, off sale, Sunday sales and 2 a.m. closing.

• Tabling the request for a liquor license by the Upsala Ballpark Association pending further discussion; and

• Tabling the discussion regarding 2013 employees’ wages.

The next regularly scheduled meeting will be Monday, Jan. 6 at 7 p.m. at City Hall.