Cologne Council approves projects for Louis Hall

Cologne council members approved several projects for Louis Hall during their regular meeting on March 20. (Adam Gruenewald/The Times)

by Adam Gruenewald
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Rather than a substantial discussion on the Cologne Fire Department’s pension plan, Cologne Fire Chief Chuck Joos presented a decidedly easier issue for council members in a discussion of Louis Hall improvements and repairs.
During the regular council meeting on Monday, March 20, council members adopted a range of projects for Louis Hall.
The two projects, several of which will be considered to update Louis Hall, will cover various floor replacement and window treatments totaling $6,740.68 to Waconia-based Yetzer’s Home Furnishings and the cleaning of the commercial air ducts for $1,104 from St. Louis Park-based Zerorez.
Joos shared that funding the window treatments and floor replacement projects will come from various funds donated by the Cologne Fire Department and designated by the city.
“I’m asking permission to go ahead with the two projects using donated funds,” he said. “It shouldn’t occur additional expense to city.”
The other project, the cleaning of the air ducts, will come from a pool of $3,000 that is budgeted for miscellaneous repairs to the building.
In terms of other projects, Joos said he and other firefighters are also focused on improving the carpeted floor of Louis Hall but decided to wait on that project.
“We will live with the carpet until we can come up with more donations,” he said.
Also, Joos did request that the department receive permission authorizing the fire department to seek grants and other donations for Louis Hall, which council members agreed to consider formally at a later date.
Mayor Matt Lein said the city attorney could be consulted and a formal agreement could be drawn up.
“Something needs to be defined and brought to a future meeting,” he said.
In other news,  council members revisited their concerns regarding the proposed sales tax and wheelage tax increases to pay for roads as previously shared by Carver County representatives
As mentioned earlier, a 1/2 percent transportation sales tax and increase in wheelage tax from $10 to $20 per vehicle per year would generate sufficient funding for roads.
In a decision, council members took no official action but reviewed and accepted a letter written by Mayor Matt Lein on behalf of the council.
In the 2-page letter, Lein made no formal acceptance or denial of the tax increases, but did acknowledge the council “certainly understand the reasoning for Carver County considering this tax proposal.” The letter also highlighted the importance of Highway 212 expansion as well as the possible addition of Highway 284 to the list of unfunded projects.
“We fear that this could be the wrong message we are sending to the State, and put us in a position in the long-run of having to not only take care of our local transportation needs but also those of the State as well,” wrote Lein in the letter. “If you are to move forward with adopting this proposal, we would ask that you please take into consideration input from Carver County municipalities on what projects get included in the list of projects to be considered, and which ones the municipalities view as priorities across the County.”
Cologne council members also adopted waste haulers licenses for Suburban Waste MN LLC, Randy’s Sanitation and Waste Management, OK’d a payment of $92,975.92 to Di-Mar Construction for pay request #5 for the water treatment facility, approved a payment of $1,639 to Braun Intertec Corporation for pay request #2 for geotechnical services pay request, approved payment for $4,785 for one of the two  return activated sludge pumps that had failed, did an initial review of a proposal acquired by City Clerk Sue Mueller for shrubs in front of the Cologne Community Center and received their Acer Chromebook R13 tablets.
The Cologne City Council will next meet at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 3.
Follow Adam Gruenewald on Twitter @adamgruenewald.