Ask us: With 2,300 hydrants, Mankato is facing a major painting contract | Local news


Q: A few weeks ago all hydrants in our area were painted yellow, a few days later they were painted shiny red again. Was the yellow a primer? Also who paints them and how often?

ONE: The reader guessed right on the color switch.

“The hydrants are cleaned with a dust-free blower, then the hydrants are primed, so yellow, and then they are painted red,” said Deputy City Engineer Michael McCarty.

According to the city’s website, Mankato has over 2,300 fire hydrants, so keeping them in a relatively fresh paint job is an ongoing task.

“The town of Mankato typically repaints about 200 fire hydrants annually,” McCarty said.

Q: I find it interesting that the city does not require a residence for the mayor who makes decisions that those of us who live here make. It seems to me that a city manager should live by the same decisions made in that office. Can the mayor, councilor or public security officer live differently than in Mankato? What’s the old saying what’s good for the goose?

ONE: That question came shortly after a story about Mankato City Manager Susan Arntz, who has just finished her first year on the job. The story mentioned that she and her family intended to move from their longtime home in Waconia after the school year ended this spring.

To be fair, Arntz was very open about her plans – and explained on the day she was offered the Mankato job that the move definitely wouldn’t be until spring 2021, when her middle daughter graduated from high school. And she said the move might not come until after the 2021-22 school year is over, which would allow her youngest daughter to graduate from middle school and move to Mankato high school in time.

In any case, the city council cannot require most city employees to live within the city limits.

“Minnesota law actually prohibits an individual from being in an area as a condition of employment,” said Arntz.

There is an exception for certain types of jobs in rural Minnesota. If a worker may need to be called on duty in an emergency, they may be required to live within a certain distance or response time, Arntz said.

Examples are volunteer firefighters, snow plow drivers and utility workers whose job description includes responding to unexpected emergencies with water or sewer systems.

Police officers, on the other hand, do not fall into this category because they have shifts, said Arntz.

Residency is mandatory for mayors and council members. In fact, they must live in the city and community they represent throughout their term in office and well in advance of their election. So challengers cannot run for office while residing elsewhere and then only move if they are elected.

Contact Ask us at The Free Press, 418 S. Second St., Mankato, MN 56001. Call Mark Fischenich at 344-6321 or email your question to [email protected]; put Ask Us in the subject line.


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