Lakes, Loons, Living
 

Frequently Asked Questions

See below for more information on Public Works and Utility Bills.
 

 Public Works FAQs

 What causes discolored water?

Iron and manganese, which occur naturally in well water, can cause a rusty color. It is not harmful.  Water can also become discolored from a malfunctioning water softener.

 When and why are the fire hydrants flushed?

Public Works flushes the hydrants in spring and fall to remove iron and manganese from the system.  The operation of each hydrant is also checked at this time.

 The valve on the street side of my water meter is leaking. Will the City repair it?

The City maintains the water line within the public road right-of-way.  The rest of the system is the responsiblity of the homeowner.  The City does not provide repair service.  The City of Avon Maintenance Department will shut off the water at the curb box if needed for a repair.  In an emergency situation, call the Police Department at 320-356-7575 or, if it is an evening or weekend, call 320-356-7575 so a maintenance worker can be dispatched to shut off your water.  If your repair is not an emergency, please call the City Hall 320-356-7922 at least 24 hours before the repair is to be made to schedule the water shut off.  The curb box will be located ahead of time and checked for operability.  A maintenance worker will meet with you or your representative at the scheduled time to shut off the water.

 Who is responsible for maintaining the wastewater line to my home?

The homeowner is responsible for any service line blockage or repairs between the home and the City wastewater main, including the connection at the wastewater main.

Problems with the sanitary wastewater system (the system conveying wastewater from homes, businesses, and industries) should be reported to the City Public Works Water/Wastewater Department at 320-356-7509.

Property owners should try to determine if the problem is with the public system in the street or the private service from the building to the street.  If the problem is only with one fixture (sink or toilet), it is likely that the problem is in the private system and you should contact a plumber.  if there is a problem with the entire building or home, you should check with adjacent buildings to see if they are having problems.  If more than one building is having problems, the City system is the likely cause.

Call 320-356-7922 for wastewater or water bill questions.

 My yard has been painted with different colors. What work is being done?

Utility companies have the right to work in the street right-of-way, and the drainage and utility easement, to install or maintain their lines.  Before work begins, the company calls Gopher State One Call who notifies other utilities of the work to be done.  The other utilities then mark their existing lines in the area.  Gas lines are marked in yellow, telephone and cable TV in orange, electric in red, water in blue, and wastewater in green.  To find out what work is being done, contact the utility companies.

 What is a drainage and utility easement?

Typically, there is a five foot wide easement on each side of the property line between properties and a ten foot wide easement adjacent to the right-of-way.  It gives the City and the private utility companies the right to install and maintain underground or above-ground utilities (water main, sanitary sewer, storm sewer, telephone lines, gas lines, power lines, CATV lines) and overland drainage ways.

A drainage problem involving public streets, storm water inlets, storm sewers, or drainage ditches should be reported to the Public Works Street Department at 320-356-7922.  If the drainage problem is on private property, the home owner will need to determine how to correct the problem.  The responsibility to do the correction is that of the property owner. 

 Why doesn't the City cut the grass around the storm water ponds?

Wherever possible, the City Street/Parks Department maintains a buffer of undisturbed vegetation along the shoreline of ponds.  These buffers provide a variety of benefits, including the filtration and absorption of runoff water before it reaches the pond, shoreline stabilization, preventing grass clippings and fertilizer from being blown or spread into the water, and providing wildlife habitat.

 If I fertilize my lawn, why should I use a phosphorus-free fertilizer?

Phosphorus from fertilizers runs off lawns and ends up in area wetlands, ponds, and lakes where it promotes algae growth.  Algae can damage or kill the water body's ecosystem.

The make-up of all fertilizers is indicated by a series of three numbers on the package.  The middle number indicates the amount of phosphorus the fertilizer contains.  Look for a middle number of "0" to be sure you are buying a phosphorus-free fertilizer.

In some parts of the country, soil needs phosphorus to sustain a healthy plant development-but that's not true in Minnesota.  Minnesota soils are generally rich is phosphorus.

A soil test will give you a nutrient profile of your soil.  Using this information, you can buy the fertilizer that will work best for your lawn.  Soil test kits are easy to use.  Kits are available from the University of Minnesota Extension Service at 612-374-8400.  There is a small charge to have your soil analyzed.

No matter where you live in Avon, most run-off from lawns flow into the storm water system.  The storm water system empties directly into our local water bodies.

 How do I get a lower speed limit posted on my street?

The maximum speed limit for any passenger vehicle in Minnesota is as follows:  Freeways outside urban districts - 65 miles per hour (unless posted otherwise); Urban freeways and highways - 55 mph (unless posted otherwise); Residential streets - 30 mph; Alleys - 15 mph.

The speed limits are not always posted, but all motorists are required to know these basic mile-per-hour speed laws.

Intermediate speed limits between 25 and 55 miles per hour may be established by MN/DOT based on traffic engineering surveys.  The City can submit a request to MN/DOT to review the established speed limit on a street.  These surveys include an analysis of roadway conditions, accident records, and the prevailiaing speed of prudent drivers.  If speed limit signs are posted for a lower limit that is needed to safely meet these conditions, many drivers will simply ignore the signs, while others will stay within the posted limits.  This generally increases the conflicts between faster and slower drivers by reducing the gaps in traffice through which crossings could be made safely and increases the difficulty for pedestrians to judge the speed of approaching vehicles.  Studies have shown that when uniformity of speed is not maintained, accidents generally increase.

 Who maintains the trees within the public road right-of-way?

These trees belong to the property owner, the property owner is responsible for the health and care of these trees.  The city occasionally trims these trees if needed to prevent hazardous conditions for pedestrian and vehicles along with interference with City utilities.

 My street light is burned out or doesn't work properly. Who takes care of it?

To report a light that needs maintenance, contact the City of Avon at 320-356-7922.  The City will then fax the information to Xcel Energy who maintains the street lights.

 How do I report a pothole?

Call Avon Public Works, 320-844-1144.

 When does the City sweep the streets?

Streets are swept approximately 3 times from spring through fall and on an as-needed basis.  The Streets/Parks Department is charged with this duty.

 What can be done to improve my street?

The City has three options based on the condition of your street;

1.  Sealcoat:  Apply a bituminous adhesive to the surface and add aggregate rock.  Construction time:  One day and two sweepings.

2.  Overlay:  Mill (grind) off some of the existing surface and pave over.  Construction time:  1-2 months.

3.  Reconstruct:  Rebuild the entire street section and curb and gutter.  Construction time:  2-3 months.

The Public Works Department has developed a database with the condition of all the City Streets in Avon.

 What are the steps involved in obtaining improvements?

1.  Petition for project or Council request

2.  Council orders feasibility report

3.  Neighborhood meeting (if necessary)

4.  Council receives a feasiblity report and sets hearing

5.  Public hearing

6.  Council denies, modifies or orders project

7.  Council orders plans and specifications

8.  Council orders bids

9.  Council awards contract

10.Construction takes place

11.Council declares costs to be assessed and orders preparation of proposed assesment

12. Council sets assessment hearing

13.Council holds hearing and approves assessment

 Utility Bills FAQs

 Do you accept direct payments for utility bill?

Yes!  The forms are available on our website or you can stop by City Hall to sign up.

 When is my meter read?

Your meter is read in the middle of the month, usually around the 15th or 16th.

 When do I get a bill? When is the payment due?

Billing is done on the first business day every-other month.  Payments are due on the 23rd of that month regardless of what day of the week this falls on.  A ten percent penalty is added on the 24th of each month on all past due accounts.  You can mail your payment to: City of Avon; PO Box 69, Avon, MN 56310 or use the drop box in the entry way or by direct payment. 

 Do I have to pay for sewer usage when I water my lawn?

May - September (billing) sewer rates are based on water average from Sept 16th - April 15th. October through April (billing) sewer rates are based on actual water usage. 

 Where is my water meter?

Your water meter is located inside and a remote meter is attached to the outside of your home/business for easy reading by the City.  It can be found in the basement where the water main enters your home.   It is important to know where your water main enters your home because this is also where a main shut-off is located.

 How do I know if I have a leak?

You cannot always tell if you have a leak.  Reading your meter last thing at night and first thing in the morning, will show if water was used.  If water was used you should know where it is going.  However, take into consideration if your water softener regenerates during the night, to use an alternate night.  If the City staff notices a much higher than normal water usage when they read meters, they will make an attempt to contact you.

 Who do I contact if I have a question about my utility bill?

You can contact Kathy at the City Hall at 356-7922 or kathy.s@cityofavonmn.com

Official Website of Avon, Minnesota | 320-356-7922