City of Sartell Accepts 2021 City of Excellence Award

For Immediate Release August 9, 2021

The City of Sartell is extremely proud to announce its acceptance of the 2021 City of Excellence Award in the 5,000-19,999 population category for its road pretreatment program. The award was presented to the City of Sartell’s Public Works Director, John Kothenbeutel, from the League of Minnesota Cities at the August 9th City Council Meeting.

In 2016, John Kothenbeutel, Larry Then, and the entire Public Works team innovatively created an anti-icing program that pre-treats our roadways before major snow events reducing the usage of salt, sanding, and plow times, which has proven to be a benefit for both the environment and the City’s bottom line by saving over $150,000 in five years.

If you see someone from the Public Works team out and about, please thank them for their dedication to our City. It does not go unnoticed!

Please read the full press release from the League of Minnesota Cities below.


For immediate release

Contact: Don Reeder, Public Affairs Manager, (651) 215-4031,

Sartell honored by the League of Minnesota Cities for road pretreatment innovation

(Aug. 9, 2021 – St. Paul, MN) The city of Sartell is the winner of the 2021 City of Excellence Award in the 5,000-19,999 population category for their road pretreatment program. By reducing chloride (salt) usage, sanding, and plow times the program has proven to be a benefit for both the environment and the city’s bottom line.

The City of Excellence Awards are given each year by the League of Minnesota Cities in three population categories and one topical category. The awards recognize cities for outstanding programs or projects. Each winning city will receive a plaque, a check for $1,000, and recognition in League publications and promotional activities throughout the coming year.

The City of Sartell Public Works Department began implementation of the road pretreatment program on main arterials roads in 2015. In addition to the expense of salt and its impact on the city budget, chloride pollution of water is an emerging concern among city public works and sustainability teams. Because the city of Sartell is growing, the addition of new roadways was also straining staff resources and putting more demands on the number of hours needed to keep roads clear during a snow event. 

This pretreatment program involves creating a 78% water and 22% salt brine mixture and applying it to roadways prior to a snow event, which works to melt the snow quickly.

With the program, the city has reduced how much salt needs to be purchased annually by 25% to 50%, saving $151,730 over six years. “We can safely say it has been a huge success for both the environment and the bottom line,” said City Administrator Anna Gruber, who added that the line item for salt is already $40,000 under budget in 2021. The city expects to expand the program to residential neighborhood streets in 2021.

More League award winners in the 1-4,999 population category, 20,000+ population category, and COVID-19 Response topical category, as well as the Sustainable City Award, will be announced at city council meeting presentations throughout August, September, and October.

About the League

The League of Minnesota Cities is a membership association dedicated to promoting excellence in local government. The League, governed by a Board of Directors consisting of local elected and appointed city officials, serves its more than 800 member cities through advocacy, education and training, policy development, risk management, and other services.