Public Works FAQ

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 Melrose Public Utilities Department at 320-256-4278.

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 prevailing speed of prudent drivers. If speed limit signs are posted for a lower limit than 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 traffic 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.

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 eco-system.

  • 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 healthy plant development - but that's not true in Minnesota. Minnesota soils are generally rich in 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 Melrose, run-off from lawns flows into the storm water system. The storm water system empties directly into our local water bodies.

Why doesn't the City cut the grass around the 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.

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 feasibility 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 assessment

  12. Council sets assessment hearing

  13. Council holds hearing and approves assessments

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 aboveground 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 320-256-4278.
    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.

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

Although these trees belong to the property owner, the City routinely trims trees. Trimming is done for the health of the tree, to prevent hazardous conditions for pedestrian and vehicles and interference with utility lines. The City has a right-of-way ordinance and will remove a hazardous, diseased, or dead tree from the right-of-way as necessary.

How do I report a pothole?

  • Call 320-256-4278.

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 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.

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 320-256-4278.

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.

What is required if I want to dig or fill in my yard?

Prior to work, contact Gopher State One Call at 1-800-252-1166. In addition, please contact the Planning & Development Department at 320-256-4278 for any and all building permits.

What is the City's policy on erosion control?

Each property owner in the City is responsible for making certain that dirt is not washed from his or her property into the public street, drainage system, ponds or lakes. If the property has vegetation, erosion typically is not a problem. However, when sites are under construction, some erosion will occur, and the property owner is responsible for taking measures to contain sediment on the property. To report erosion control problems on private construction sites, call the Planning & Development Department at 320-256-4278

When and why are the fire hydrants flushed?

The City maintains the water line within the public road right-of-way. The rest of the system is the responsibility of the homeowner. The City does not provide repair service. The City of Melrose Utilities Department will shut off the water at the curb box if needed for a repair. In an emergency situation, call the Utilities Department at (320-256-4278) or, if it is an evening or weekend, call 320-256-2244 so a maintenance worker can be dispatched to shut off your water. If your repair is not an emergency, please call the Utilities Department (320-256-4278) 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.

Do I need a permit to landscape my yard?

Not usually, but if you alter the drainage or move over 500 cubic yards of soil, a land alteration permit is required. Also, call Gopher State One Call if you are digging for trees or shrubs