The Hanover City Council took a tour of the Historic Bridge with an eye on needed improvements.
The council also heard from fire chief Rich Engel about the department’s year-end report.
During its monthly work session, Mayor Martin Waters and the council went to the Historic Bridge site.
City administrator Dan Buchholtz later said the council talked about improvements to the general area to help visibility, such as trimming or removing trees.
But a larger, looming project is total repair of the bridge deck. Buchholtz estimated the deck might be as much as 50 years old.
"We talked about re-decking it because a lot of timbers are starting to rot, he said. "The rot is starting to get to the point where we need to address it."
The city owns the bridge, and Buchholtz said staff is looking into potential state transportation enhancement funds, which have a provision for historic structures.
"Also, we’ve been setting aside some dollars every year for a bridge capital fund," he said.
Buchholtz said the city has not determined when a deck replacement could take place, but is guessing within the next two years.
"We have to be sensitive to the historic nature of the bridge and use materials consistent with the period," he said. "We will be working closely with the Hanover Historic Society on the project as well."
In other news, fire chief Engel was present with the year-end report.
He said calls were slightly down from last year.
Engel told the council the department is looking at per call pay increases, and is requesting the city increase its annual pension fund contribution from $3,150 to $4,500 plus state fire aid.
Future budget needs include improvements to the fire station, such as for the floor and some improvements to the building. Engel mentioned the future need for a new grass rig, too.
Engel then addressed the fire department selection process. The council had asked the department to determine a process.
The new process is that if department members want to run for chief or assistant chief, they will put in their applications. An interview panel consisting of the department president and vice-president, mayor and additional council member, and administrator Buchholtz will then interview the applicants and determine a list of which candidates are qualified to be the chief.
Department members will select a chief from one of the members on the pre-qualified list, and that recommendation would go to the council. The system is based on scoring, and the top scorer is recommended for appointment.
The chief and assistant chief positions are for two-year terms.
In other action, the council:
REVIEWED city staff goals. The council brainstormed goals for administrator Buchholtz that will be refined for a future date. Goals include stepping up code enforcement, completing the Beebe Lake and Hennepin County trail projects next year, and to work on a marketing plan for the city.
DISCUSSED a possible economic development state grant for the city’s 10-acre parcel located behind the fire hall. Due to site debris removal, costs would likely prohibit development of an industrial park. But the city hopes to use the grant at another industrial site targeted for street and utility expenditures.
HEARD about Beautification Committee efforts, such as beautifying downtown in order to spur additional investment. One proposal is to put utility lines underground and to install decorative street lighting.
-Compiled by Aaron Brom