At a public hearing for the Sherburn City Council on Tuesday, July 6, George Madden presented the Federated Rural Electric Association (FREA) proposal for a substation behind, to the northeast of the Regional Worship Center. He asked for a variance from the council.
Six people from the church were also present. The council and the congregation members asked several questions of Mr. Madden. He explained that the FREA began supplying electricity for Sherburn in 2015 and the substation currently supplying the electricity is behind the former Methodist Church near downtown Sherburn. The lines in the country cannot back feed to the town. The lines in the country supply 160,000+ volts and the lines from the old substation supply around 70,000 volts. The new substation would increase the electricity supply to the town and is necessary to back feed to the town and for emergencies. The new substation would be around 200 feet from the church, would be landscaped with shrubs, would have its own road, and have a fence with barbed wire around it.
The congregation members mentioned that the church is almost all steel and asked about the steel conducting electricity and the interference with their sound system. Madden/Hughes answered thatthe community hall had a sound system like the churches and has had no interference since it was installed in 2016. WIFI would have no concerns according to the FREA investigations. Madden said he was extremely confident that there would be no interference and that fiber optics are used for communications and meters. He explained the other options that FREA had investigated and explained that other land was not available to buy and that FREA did not want to cross the interstate if possible. The congregation members agreed that a new substation was needed and thanked FREA for their due diligence about a plan and location and for explaining the plans to them.
Council questions were answered also about some wires being above ground to the substation but underground from the substation and the need for city to plow snow on the road to the substation.
Madden explained that some fall work may be done but construction would be in the spring of 2022. He showed all those present the pictures of the proposed substation and a map of the location near the church. He explained that the old substation would be dismantled. He had signed documents with the owners, DRDA Properties, and asked that a variance be approved. When the council began the meeting they approved the variance.
The council also approved a project proposed by a Boy Scout to construct a five-foot wide L shaped sidewalk to the pavilion in the park that would aid handicapped access.
The council had the second reading of the Rural Urban Service District proposal for a 31 percent tax of market value for agriculture land inside the city limits that do not use utilities. The council approved this tax level.
The council approved a donation of $500 from Gary and Janet Miller for the Sherburn Fire Department with thanks.
Several years ago a park committee was formed and proposed new playground equipment that would be handicap friendly for the southwest corner of the city park. The new equipment is ready to be ordered and installed. Fundraisers have raised enough to purchase the $39,700 equipment. They have $3,000, and got $20,000 from the Schmeekle Foundation, $10,000 from Bank Midwest, and $5,000 from the Martin County Area Foundation. The council approved use of some of the COVID funds, approximately $13,000, to finish the fundraising. This would enable the purchase at this price instead of waiting and paying more later due to materials pricing increases.
Administrator Brad Hughes, reported that the new 377 foot deep well is almost ready. There were special parts needed that have now become available. The council explained to those present that the casing failed for the 50-year-old well in October 2020. The new well was drilled. Two months ago the other well went down and special pumps have been used. The council was praised for keeping the city water supply going. Hughes also reminded the council that the wastewater plant is scheduled for a complete rehab next year using grants and low interest loans. He also mentioned that Osborne Street will have sewer, water, storm sewer, surface and curb and gutter work next year.