City will pave intersection

City Engineer George Tekippe explains some issues regarding sewer and water to council members, including Leann Thomas.

City Engineer George Tekippe explains some issues regarding sewer and water to council members, including Leann Thomas.

By Marcie Klomp

The Dec. 3 Lime Springs Council meeting was the last one for two council members. Going off council are Corey Gates after 10 years and Gary Klomp after 12 years. Come January, Jim Miller and Tary Kolek will join Brian Johnson, Leann Thomas and Kevin Bill. Barb Robinson is mayor.

Howard County Engineer Nick Rissman confirmed A-23, the blacktop between Lime Springs and Cresco, is being paved in 2014. The estimated cost of that project is $3,091,618.54.

He brought three quotes to council in regards to repaving from the city limits to the east all the way through the first intersection of North Miller and East Jackson St.

1. Paving to the “dip,” or 750 feet, is $34,871.11.

2. Paving to Miller Street is $62,210.06.

3. Paving the intersection and a little more in each direction is estimated at $91,108.32.

Council had asked for a quote going all the way to the Willard Street intersection, but that is not available through this project.

Rissman stressed these are just estimates and could go lower since contractors may give good bids to get the multi-million dollar job. He did admit the intersection projected cost could be higher. It all depended on what is under the current blacktop.

Council went with Option 3 because the cost would be on a 15-year, no-interest loan to the county.

• In other business, City Engineer George Tekippe confirmed the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) approved a construction permit to change the four-inch water main on Howard Street to an eight-inch main. Bids will be opened at the January meeting.

• Council voted to use a cell-phone dialer to the well house and sewer plant. In November, a 400-volt surge popped a circuit breaker at the well house, which made the controller stop working. The tower was not able to automatically fill back up with water, so water pressure was lower and lower.

 

 

A dialer will notify up to eight people when something like this happens, so it can be taken care of before the tower gets low on water.

• Fire Chief Tony Roberts told council the December meeting was the last one he would be attending. Mayor Robinson had alluded to this at the last meeting. “I have one more meeting with the boys. I’m not quitting the department, I’m just stepping down. Nate Schwickerath is the new fire chief. Tary Kolek is assistant, Kenny Gronwoldt is safety officer and Casey Sebastian is training officer.”

He acknowledged Schwickerath has a lot of good ideas. “And he is much more computer literate than I am. Waaaaaaayyyyyy better!”

• The Community Center board is looking to change the front door to allow it to be more ADA compliant. Robinson said the basket raffle profits were a little down from other years.

• Klomp said the pool had a table at Christmas in Lime Springs and sold birthday calendars and solar-powered items. Members took donations for painting the deep end of the pool. The group needed to work on a budget and get a new sign for Brown Park.

• Public Works Director Sebastian has been changing out water meters. “Cooperation has been so-so. Some people are cordial and some not so much. We’re making headway.” All meters in town will be traded out periodically.

After the electrical surge in November, the motor in the west well has been working hot. Sebastian said the west well was all replaced, except the motor, which was in good working order at the time.

He explained the motor in the east well needs to be replaced, the suggested ordering a new one, since it was needed anyway, and have the west well motor rebuilt. Council agreed to order a new motor and check on the cost of rebuilding one. Cost and installation of a new motor could be around $4,000.

• Council will send notices in the water bills and post at different locations a new snow policy. There will be no parking on Main Street from 3-6 a.m. when there is a trace of snow. Vehicle owners will get one warning and after that the vehicle will be towed at owner’s expense.

• Robinson did some research and found that chickens are allowed to be raised in city limits. Also, owners of businesses can make living quarters upstairs.

• Three complaint letters were received and council authorized letters to be sent to the offenders.

• Robinson gave a heads-up to council that sewer rates will probably need to be raised by July 1 to help pay for an update to the sewer system.

“I’m looking at a report that says we need to make $2.2 million worth of improvements to the wastewater treatment plant.” She went on to say now each household pays a minimum of $15 for sewer and $24 for water per month. To pay for the sewer updates, the sewer rate should be $41 per month (if the city gets a Community Development Block Grant) or $46 if it does not get a grant. Water rates were not mentioned.

Either way, rates will have to be raised. Council members will need to look at options on raising rates. A five percent increase won’t even come close.

Lime Springs is still facing financial problems. The council has been trying to be proactive rather than reactive in the past few years, but it still has a long ways to go.

Everyone is encouraged to attend council meetings. They are open to the public and held the first Tuesday of the month. The next meeting will be Jan. 7 at 7 p.m. at the Community Center.

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