Motley Council votes to look for quality water, caps spending at $40,000

By Tina SnellStaff Writer

The Motley City Council voted Tuesday to look for water that offers better quality and quantity than the city is getting now. Currently, Motley’s water contains far more manganese and iron than it should.

Clerk Treasurer Terri Smith said the city has been told by two engineering firms that it has the highest manganese they have ever seen.

“They said that is likely causing our problems,” she said. “A new water source should be easier to treat and hopefully proved savings to the city.”

The vote included a cap of $40,000 to bore for another well plus drill for a well if the borings provide conducive for quality water.

The Council would like a new well in place for the proposed new water treatment plant which is expected to begin construction in the spring of 2014.

Wayne Barros, the maintenance supervisor for the city, said the cost to locate the water would be $30,000 – $40,000.

“The manganese in the water is difficult and costly to remove. If another source can be found which is better quality, it could mean a savings,” he said. “The savings could come from the chemical to remove the manganese and in the design of the new treatment plant.”

Barros said four possible spots for good water have been chosen for boring.

“If the indicators from the test borings are good for water quality and quantity, Bolton and Menk Inc. will drill a test well,” he said. The cost of the test borings will be approximately $15,000. The cost of the test well is approximately $20,000.

But, just because a test boring looks good, the test well may prove the quantity of water produced may not be what the city is looking for.

If that’s the case, Barros said the next best boring would be looked at. Or, the city would start again at the beginning with more test borings.

A test well, if producing quality water with good quantity, could become a permanent well.

“Bolton and Menk will decide which boring has the best potential,” said Barros.

“I want to know when the cost (of finding the best well) will stop,” said Councilman Pat O’Regan. “Can we cap the cost of this?”

Councilman Rob Sampson said that the project won’t be cheap.

“This is a gamble,” said Barros, “but, it doesn’t have to be done. The cost could reach $100,000 after piping to the water plant and electricity is added. The $30,000 – $40,000 is just to locate good water.”

Barros said Bolten and Menk Inc., engineers and surveyors, need permission to begin the test borings so erection of the planned water treatment plant can begin in the spring.

Sampson said, “This project will affect the city positively if we find good water. There may be a time when we have to stop poking holes in the ground looking for water and cut our costs. But, we have to start now if there is potential.”

If quality water is located, it may change the new plant design.

The results of the borings are expected to be presented during the Nov. 12 meeting.

Motley City Council briefs 

Other business conducted by the Motley City Council Tuesday night included:

• Meeting the newest police officer on the Motley Police Force, Motley native Andrew Rollins;

• Voting to purchase land on Meadow Avenue by Poplar Lane, near one of the test water boring locations. The property contains 2.5 acres and will cost the city $2,600 plus fees;

• Voting to adopt resolutions which would address the process in considering variances and how the fair market value of land would be calculated when applying the city’s park dedication ordinance. Copies are available at City Hall;

• Reviewing proposals from both Home Town Planning and Region 5 for comprehensive city planning. Each company submitted proposals for one year at a cost of $6,850. The Planning and Zoning Commission will discuss both submissions at its next meeting to be held Oct. 29 at 6 p.m., and bring its decision back to the Council for a vote;

• Voting to accept changes in the snowmobileordinance. They include reducing the speed while in town to 10 miles per hour; prohibiting snowmobiles with studded tracks on city streets; and requiring snowmobiles to travel on only marked streets and alleys within the city limits. Police Chief Brian Madison said the new routes will be well-marked;

• Creating a committee to put together a bicycle training seminar for children in town. The committee will consist of Councilman Pat O’Regan, Fire Chief Dave Greig, assistant Maintenance Supervisor Bruce Brotherton and Madison;

• Receiving a notice of retirement from Maintenance Supervisor Wayne Barros who has worked with the city since 1978. He has been training Brotherton to replace him and the Council formally offered him the position, which he accepted;

• Voting to pay Brotherton for all future Council meetings which he has refused to accept in the past;

• Voting to spend up to $9,559 to purchase software and have it installed in the water treatment plant. It will help keep the facility working for another two years until the new plant is up and running;

• Permitting St. Michael Catholic Church to conduct lawful gambling (bingo) Sunday, Nov. 24; and

• Agreeing to spend up to $125 to send Clerk Treasurer Terri Smith to a Minnesota Rural Water Association meeting in St. Cloud.

The next City Council meeting will be held at the Motley City Hall Tuesday, Nov. 12, at 6 p.m.