Five things to know from Dysart Council

Dysart Council members met in a rescheduled meeting July 16 after the July 14 tornado shut down the town Wednesday. Pictured are Mary Wankowicz, Tabby Kaiser, Mayor Tim Glenn, Taylor Gingrich, Stacey Dabney and Reese Peterson. Darvin Graham/NT Telegraph

1. At the July 16 regular city council meeting, discussion was had between the council and Wade Wilson and Kevin Eikamp who were there on behalf of Farmers Cooperative Telephone Company (FCTC), a local phone, internet and television provider. At their June meeting the council approved a utility permit submitted by Windstream for boring and installing conduit for fiber optic cable across Highway 21 and along the northern side of town near Wilson Street.

Concerns were raised about the potential for a large company like Windstream to develop into Dysart and monopolize and quickly edge out a small local competitor like FCTC through the ability to build out underground infrastructure and overbuild the town.

“I’m worried about them putting their toe into Dysart, which puts their foot into Keystone, which keeps adding and adding and adding,” Council Member Stacy Dabney said. “Then they get the whole monopoly. I’m concerned about that.”

Wilson highlighted some of the value that FCTC offered to the community as a local business. He said the company has made significant investments with recent service upgrades to their cable TV and fiber internet products as well as over $100,000 donated back to community organizations and projects over the past decade.

“If we start losing our income from our larger customers and our job is to service the remainder that don’t want Windstream, that’s definitely going to hurt us,” Wilson said.

FCTC currently competes in the internet service arena with Mediacom and a smaller Minnesota internet provider that has developed a rural wireless network with equipment installed on existing structures like grain elevators and water towers.

Cable services are provided through a franchise agreement with the city but for phone and internet, the market is more open.

Glenn said he believed the city held some control over internet services in town through easements that would need city approval for new lines to be run.

No action was taken by the council as a result of the discussion but Glenn indicated lines of communication were open between the city and the two companies.

2. A date for a public hearing regarding a proposed general obligation bond of up to $650,000 was set for 6 p.m. on July 28 at Dysart City Hall. The loan agreement would provide funding for improvements in infrastructure including the water system, sewer system, streets and storm water drainage.

The agreement will also fund the installation of street lighting and signage and improvements to traffic signals.

The council also discussed bids and options to replace the city’s street sweeper that was purchased around 2000.

Within the general obligation bond, $100,000 would be apportioned to pay for a replacement street sweeper.

One bid was available from Macqueen Equipment, a Minnesota based equipment dealer with locations in Iowa. The bid provided equipment options ranging from slightly used to more heavily used with several thousand dollars cost difference between them.

Mayor Tim Glenn pointed out during discussion that street sweepers function not only as way to keep streets looking nice but also as a measure to preserve the city’s sewer system by preventing debris and refuse from entering storm drains causing unnecessary wear and tear on sewer plant equipment.

Ultimately, the group tabled the item in hopes of acquiring additional quotes and pricing.

3. City water customers will soon receive a six-question survey attached to an upcoming water bill. The voluntary survey is intended to help the city identify and assess the condition of the privately owned residential water systems that interact as end users with the municipal water system.

Results of the survey will help the Dysart Water Department determine where best to sample city water for lead and copper testing.

Survey questions discuss topics such as water softeners, service lines connected to the city main line and lead and copper pipes within the home.

4. The rezoning ordinance for the property being sought for development by Dollar General passed its third reading by the council. The property is located directly north of Casey’s on Highway 21 and all indications point toward development progressing later this year.

5. The council approved guidelines for local businesses to offer sidewalk dining.

The requirements state outdoor dining areas must be directly adjacent to the food establishment and must not present an obstruction to things like fire hydrants, handicap ramps, meters or utility access points.

Business owners must put up a barrier system separating the dining area from pedestrian passageway and submit a sketch of the barrier layout to the council before approval is granted.