Greetings from LPA!

For better or worse, LPA received its first genuine snowstorm of the season this past weekend. My thanks to the snow removal crew for many long hours keeping the LPA roads open. As always, they did an excellent job.

Snow Removal – On more than one occasion, I’ve been asked if we are saving a bunch of money this winter. The answer is “Yes and No.”

On one hand, we are saving money on the salt, sand, fuel and overtime that comes with snow removal. On the other hand, we know that warm winters are accompanied by soft roads. Soft road conditions result in increased seal coat damage, which creates more repair work for our crews in the spring and early summer. Rock, cold patch and seal coat are all very expensive to replace which will almost certainly offset our December, January and February savings.

Are we saving money on salt and sand? Absolutely.

Are we saving money overall? Probably not.

In addition to seal coat damage, we are also faced with the challenge of soft shoulders. Please know that our crew is using care to minimize damage as we wing the snow back from the road to ensure the shoulders are clear. Clear shoulders are vitally important as they provide us room to plow the next snow. Additionally, clear shoulders help prevent mountains of snow from melting onto the roadway and creating the potential for black ice conditions.

Erosion Control – The Lake Panorama Rural Improvement Zone Board (RIZ) has been very busy this fall and winter. The Board is currently working with engineering firm Shive-Hattery to design and permit a silt basin near Burchfield Cove. This is an extremely important project as Burchfield Cove is the lake’s second largest inlet. Preliminary estimates place this project in the $600,000 ballpark.

Other highlights of the RIZ Board include future planning for a Helen’s Cove silt basin as well as the purchase of a replacement dredge. Both projects are anticipated to unfold within the next two years.

LPN Improvements – Improvements continue to be made to the LPN Conference Center this winter. Work has ranged from basic maintenance items to the upcoming installation of booths in the bar area.

On a personal note, you really have to try out some of the new items on LPN’s menu. The flat-bread pizzas and gyro salad are my personal favorites!

CIPCO – Those of you who have read the LP Times are aware that LPA will be making our final payment on the CIPCO contract this month. If you haven’t read this article, then please do so. It’s an interesting piece of LPA history.

Audit – It’s not an exciting topic on which to write, but I am pleased to relay that Meriwether-Wilson has completed their on-site visit for the 2011 audit. As expected, the audit has gone smoothly again this year. This final version of their report will be available for review in a month or two, and will also be a topic of focus at the LPA annual meeting on May 12.

Please know I always have an open door to discuss our financials with any member of LPA – transparency is one of LPA’s core philosophies.

Board Candidates – Board members Tom Jeschke and Tina Shaw will both be exiting the Board this May, leaving two open seats up for election. Members who are interested in running for these seats must complete and file paperwork with the LPA office by March 13, 2012. (Contact LPA for more information.)

A few members have expressed interest for these positions and will be collecting signatures for their petition of candidacy. My thanks to them for their willingness to learn about the association and put themselves out there on the May 12, 2012 ballot.

Water Plant – The board will be meeting with Tom Madden, our water engineer, to review the Jordan well and water plant projects. Without question, these were very successful projects for LPA. The overall budget and timeline was as expected with the end result being a major improvement to the association’s system.

The only remaining concern about our water production is water hardness. We knew the Jordan water would be somewhat harder than the Dakota water, but have found it to be even more aggressive than expected. The Board is scheduled to review water softening options at their April meeting and will discuss this as a potential improvement in coming years. It’s too early to tell if water softening is in our future, but we are exploring all options to ensure we can continue to provide high quality service to our customers.

Closing – The Raccoon River Valley Trail Association will be held at LPN on Saturday, February 18th. This year’s speaker is Iowa native and adventurer Charlie Wittmack. I highly recommend the event – It’s a wonderful cause and the presentation should be awesome. Check out this site for more info.

http://raccoonrivervalleytrail.org/

Best wishes,

John Rutledge

GM – LPA

Quote to ponder:  “He was a bold man that first ate an oyster” – Jonathan Swift

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