Final plans are being made for street and trail projects in Storm Lake, with the Storm Lake City Council setting public hearings for them at yesterday's meeting.
The projects include the 2002 Street Improvement Project, including the reconstruction of North Lake Avenue, Shoreway Drive and parts of West 4th Street, as well as a project to widen the LakeTrail.
Streets planned for reconstruction are North Lake Avenue from Milwaukee Avenue north to approximately 12th Street, Shoreway from Northwestern Drive to Larchwood Drive, and West 4th from Larchwood Drive to Barton Street.
The total project cost is estimated at slightly under $1.3 million, according to City Engineer Jim Winterton. That includes the reconstruction of the streets and the replacement of water lines on North Lake Avenue. Part of cost will be covered with money the city received from the state after the city agreed to take over North Lake Avenue. The city received approximately $905,000.
There has been several informational meetings on the proposed projects, and another is being planned for March 13 with business owners on North Lake Avenue.
Bob Payer, project engineer, said if acceptable bids are received, the project could start as early as May 1. Each project would be staged in different phases to provide for the least amount of disruption to traffic.
With the Lake Trail project, the city plans to construct new trail around Circle Park, and widen the trail all the way to Hudson Street at Chautauqua Park. The existing four-foot wide trail will be removed and replaced with a new eight-foot wide trail.
The city received a grant from the Iowa Department of Transportation for the Lake Trail improvement project.
The public hearings for both projects will be Monday, March 18, at 5 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall.
In other news:
* No public comment was received for the city's 2002-2003 fiscal year budget at a hearing yesterday. The tax levy per $1,000 of valuation is $11.33 and $3 on agricultural land. Total expenditures from the budget are approximately $16.3 million.
Administrative Services Director Justin Yarosevich said highlights of the budget include a 5 percent reduction on supplies, and an emphasis on customer service and maintaining infrastructure.
Several expenditures Yarosevich noted include $500,000 for the 2002 Street Improvement Project, $100,000 for park improvements, $26,000 for a computer rotation program, and approximately $6 million for a major expansion and renovation project at the water treatment plant.
* Several user fees are set to be increased, including water shut-off fees and electric and plumbing licenses.
Under the proposed ordinance water shut-off fees will increase to $50 during business hours and $75 after hours and on holidays. Plumber and electrician license fees would also increase. The initial fee for master and journeyman licenses would be $55 and $30 for helpers. Renewal rates would be $35 for master, $30 for journeyman, and $25 for helper.
The ordinance would also add a $20 "door tag" fee for delinquent water accounts. For delinquent accounts, a notice of disconnection is posted on the door the day before the city shuts the water off. City Clerk Patti Moore said the fee will cover the cost of printing and delivering shut-off notices. Moore said numerous customers "habitually" wait until the notice is delivered before paying their bills.
The ordinance passed on first reading, and will be considered two more times by the council.
* The council approved the renewal of four lease agreements with Community Education for the Community Gardens. The renewal will last for two years, from March 5, 2002, to March 5, 2004.
The agreement continues the popular Community Education program that provides garden space for people who do not have space or want to learn more about gardening through Community Education. The first year, the program had seven participants. Last year there were 15 gardeners, according to Pat Kelly, public facilities director.
The lease is for land on the east side of the West 9th Ball Diamonds.
* The council gave final approval to an ordinance eliminating the need to continually update the city's urban revitalization plan.
Current city code requires the plan to be updated regularly, but it has not been updated since 1995.
The urban revitalization plan authorizes the use of tax abatements in residential and commercial areas.
The city administrator said eliminating the boundary dates which require the plan to be updated is a "housekeeping" issue.