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First phase finished at wastewater plant

Friday, February 18, 2005

Annual department reports were a big part of this week's Le Mars city council meeting.

The council reviewed reports from the five departments:

*Wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) : 10 full-time employees; Alan McDermott, Doug Masuen and Chad Schiefen upgraded their licenses; Christi Kilker was hired as administrative assistant

Substantial reduction in odor with improvements implemented in phase one of plant upgrade. Phase one work is essentially complete.

Work at the plant is in the middle of phase two which will further upgrade bio-solids handling capabilities and major electrical upgrades.

Phase three will deal with any further odor control needed after phases one and two are complete.

The facility handled 662,240,000 gallons of raw wastewater, an increase in 2004 over 2003. Removal efficiency in three major substance areas ranged from 93.4 percent to 99.5 percent.

8,682,762 million gallons of sludge were generated in 2004, an average of 23,788 gallons per day. Some 8,273,395 gallons were land-applied.

Flows from Wells' Dairy facilities totaled 235,000,000 gallons of raw wastewater, a slight decrease from 2003. Amount is down because of a new "clean floor" policy at Wells' plants.

There are about 50 miles of city-owned sewer lines in Le Mars.

Ron Kayser is WWTP superintendent.

*Fire/rescue: 25 regular members, three reserve members

171 calls in 2004, 97 city, 33 rural, four mutual aid 37 chief/officer investigation; number of city calls down from 2003, other categories increased slightly

11 structure fires, 47 ambulance assists, 32 false alarms

Total fire loss in 2004 -- $1,116,400

Total department miles logged in 2004 was 3,159

Department raised $38,593.91 in donations and grants in 2004

Two retirements, Tim Harrison with 27 years and John (JC) Swanberg with 20 years

Wayne Schipper is fire chief.

*Library: Open over 3,200 hours in 2004 with over 106,000 visitors; over 5,000 new items added

Total items borrowed/checked out 81,376. Items include adult and children's books, videos, DVDs, books on cassette and magazines.

Some 377 meetings were held in the Esther Smith Meeting Room

Primary source of funding is the city of Le Mars with other support from Plymouth County, state library funding, private gifts and donations, and Friends of the Library.

Internet connection was added in the meeting room.

Goals for 2005 include further outreach to children, purchase Windows 2003 server, new ADA circulations desk with additional check-out station, computer hardware/software updates and continued staff development.

*Public facilities: Installed playground at the swimming pool park, painted the shelter at West Floyd Park, painted at municipal park, and did several projects at Cleveland Park.

Also completed more than 15 other projects at various locations.

Services provided by the department include snow removal on city sidewalks, mowing parks and cemeteries, tree trimming in parks, repair and install playground equipment, maintain fall protection, mow ditches and all city grounds, maintain city buildings, mark out graves and arrange digging and mark out headstones; 52 funerals in 2004.

Department supervisor is Dan Crowley.

*Code enforcement: Building department issued 183 permits in 2004 for fees of $69,028.69 and construction costs totaling $18,824,471.64.

Single-family dwellings up 13 permits from the previous year for a record total 44 permits. New commercial permits were up two from the previous year. Seventy citizen report forms were received and responded to. Some 414 structure inspections were completed.

Three large project permits were issued for projects in excess of $500,000 valuation: Two J Enterprises LLC $911,719, Schuster Trucking Co. $2,230,100, and City of Le Mars Wastewater Treatment Plant $5,284,745.

Wayne Schipper is chief building inspector; John Meis is code enforcement officer.

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