By Chad Koenen


The New York Mills Utility Department has received a request to expand natural gas to the Burlington Northern Railroad and Jennie O.

During its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday night, Utility Supervisor Kyle Mattson updated the city council about a request to install natural gas to both BNSF and Jennie O. Mattson said the expansion could be a good source of income for the city, while also helping those facilities continue to grow.

Mattson said he is currently gathering quotes for materials and installation of natural gas, as well as applying for Right of Way permits should the project move forward. He estimated, using historical numbers, that the city could generate an additional $55,000 a year in revenue by “just feeding gas to Burlington Northern and the turkey barns.”

While the city had not planned to complete such a project this year, Mattson said it is an opportunity for the city to expand natural gas to a pair of users just outside of the city limits.

“It’s a lot of money up front,” said Mattson. ““I’m hoping the contract and material prices will come in under what I have estimated them at. It is just so hard to tell with prices of material fluctuating so fast and just getting on contractor’s waiting lists.”

Even though the project may cost quite a bit of money right away, councilman Josh Hoaby said the income that could be generated by Jennie-O and BNSF means there could be a quick return on investment.

“It just seems like kind of a no brainer,” he said.

Mattson said he will continue to investigate extending natural gas to BNSF and Jennie-O and will share the numbers with the utility committee as they become available, before bringing the project back to the full council. 

In other news

• Heard the liquor store report, which stated gross sales for on-sale were down 41 percent from last January, with the off-sale was up 25 percent from last January. Gross revenue was up slightly by 2 percent from last January. The on-sale liquor store was closed for 10 days in January 2021, due to COVID-19 restrictions. 

• Heard the fire department responded to 221 calls last year, which was up slightly from the 203 calls it responded to in 2019. A majority of the calls were for either medical, or city medical calls, but there were 44 fires the department responded to in 2020 as well. 

• Heard the police report, which stated the department had 80 calls for service in January and issued five citations. The 2021 squad car has also been ordered for the department. 

• Approved a low bid of $16,754 from Ottertail Aggregate for the primary aeration pond liner repair. The project is being paid for by an insurance claim so the city is only responsible for paying for its deductible. The two other bids came in at $22,800 and $31,500.