Tear down the tower? Osseo residents to have say at hearing

The Osseo City Council received some revised information from the North Water Tower report and set a hearing to get the public’s opinion about repairing or tearing down the tower. 

The council also adopted its 2014 preliminary budget during its meeting Monday, Sept. 9. The preliminary budget and tax levy could see an increase of about 1 percent over the 2013 budget.




The council also received more updated information on the status of the north water tower located next to Osseo City Hall. The water tower was built in 1915, but is currently empty because the city purchases its water from Maple Grove.

The council heard from KLM engineer Shawn Mulhern. He said they were able to the weld repairs to the ladder to be able to get up to the roof to inspect the condition. “The roof area that I was deeply concerned with was not as bad as we anticipated, but we do have some other areas at the crossrods and pinning points that would need to be structurally modified,” he added.

He stated the costs to repair exterior structural repairs, replace the interior and exterior coating (including containment and removal of the lead base paint) were estimated to be $352,300.

The costs to take down and demolish the water tower would be between $20,000 and $30,000.

Mulhern said, “We are still in the opinion it should be taken down based on the costs.”

Councilor Bonnie Heinen asked if the tower could fall down during a severe storm with straight line winds or a tornado. Mulhern said no, but a cross rod could come down.

Mayor Duane Poppe asked how long minimal work on the tower would last; Mulhern said 50 to 100 years. City Planner Riley Grams asked how much it would cost just to paint the tower; Mulhern said $120,000.

Councilor Rick Weber said, “With this added information we have now, I guess I would like to get more input from the community. It is their’s and our’s.”

Councilor Mark Schulz said he agreed a public hearing would be a good idea.

Councilors Allan Hartkopf and Heinen both felt the tower should be taken down.

Mulhern suggested the city talk with the cities of Crosby and Waconia on what made their decisions to either keep or take down their old water towers.

Resident Kathleen Gette, who is favor of keeping the tower, offered to do some grant writing to help with the expenses to keep the water tower up. She added that she spoke with many people over Lions Roar about the tower and those people told her they wanted to keep the tower. She added people said the tower was “an icon of our town” and “it is part of Osseo.”

The council approved setting a public hearing on the topic for Monday, Oct. 14, at 7 p.m.




The council unanimously approved the 2014 proposed tax levy collectable in 2014 and direct staff to submit it to Hennepin County. The county required to submit the preliminary budget to the county by Sept. 15. The levy will be used to determine the tax levy on properties in Osseo paid in 2014. This levy will be open for discussion at the truth in taxation meeting on Dec. 2.

The City Council must approve the final 2014 General Fund Budget and Tax Levy by Dec. 30. The levy cannot be higher than the preliminary budget, but it can be lowered before the final approval. The budget should be adopted at the council’s last meeting in December.

City Administrator Doug Reeder said the council discussed the budget at Sept. 3 work session. The city is looking at continuing with the same level of city services and continued maintenance of the city infrastructure and equipment.

He said if a property stayed at exactly the same value for taxes payable in 2014, the city tax on that property would increase by 2.296 percent.

Reeder said there would be no huge changes to the budget. He said there was a increase of $63,440 to the Capital Improvements project, which is being used to fix up the city’s streets, water and sewer. “That’s a very large commitment this council has made towards a continuing effort to increase the viability of our infrastructure.”

Some of the expenditures go towards: police and fire services (35 percent), water, sewer and street repairs (25 percent), council/administration (13 percent), legals (5 percent), insurance (5 percent), park and recreation (2 percent), planning (3 percent) and buildings (2 percent).

Reeder spoke of the major changes in the preliminary 2014 general fund budget. He said in the area of revenues: fiscal disparities will contribute $60,477 more, property taxes for General Fund purposes will be up $138,408, property taxes for general obligation bonds are down $9,479 and revenues other than property taxes are down $11,465.

Changes in expenditures include: part-time finance director added ($24,000), across the board 2 percent salary increase plus step increase ($17,000), funding included for maintenance of trees and shrubs on Central Avenue ($10,000), election costs ($2,375) and senior services ($10,000).



In other action, the council:

TOOK no adoption action on the proposed ordinance amendment to the city code regarding nuisance parking. City staff wanted to give the Planning Commission time to review the matter first.

APPOINTED Todd Woods to the vacant position on the Planning Commission. The term will expire Dec. 31, 2014.