Shorthanded SL Council tables water plant decision

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

Debate over a $6 million water plant renovation project was tabled by the Storm Lake City Council, which had one member missing and another participating by telephone.

Councilperson Jim Treat made the motion to table awarding the contract for a $6 million Water Plant Renovation Project. He had returned from a vacation Monday afternoon to attend the meeting.

"I did not feel I could in good conscience vote either way - yes or no - without more information on the subject," he said at the meeting.

He added that a full council should be present when a decision is made on the contract. Councilperson Denny Vaudt was not present and Julie Egland was participating by phone.

Mayor Jon Kruse said the city's engineer on the project advised it would not be a problem to table the issue until the council's first meeting in November.

An issue that has evolved in the renovation project has been what role the city's two largest water users - IBP and Bil-Mar - should play in financing the project.

Chris Nolte, director of Storm Lake Area Development Corporation, offered his organization's assistance in facilitating discussions between the city, city council and the meatpackers to come to a mutual agreement. He said SLADC would facilitate or could bring in a professional to mediate on the issue.

"We could have the potential for hard feelings," he said of the water plant issue.

In other news:

* Willard Christensen appeared before the council again to discuss his concerns that a portion of the contract for this summer's city street projects is not being honored by the contractor.

Christensen said the contractor, Godbersen-Smith, has not properly followed through on required landscaping along Shoreway Road/West 4th Street and North Lake Avenue.

He and other property owners addressed the same concerns at a council meeting in September.

Mayor Kruse said city staff has been involved on the issue, adding that several areas have been identified as needing more work and dormant seeding will be done "very soon."

Councilperson Treat said it appeared that the contract has not been followed as written.

* Next summer will bring further improvements to the Lake Trail, including lighting in Frank Starr Park and a widening of the trail from Chautauqua Park east to the DNR boat ramp.

A grant from the Iowa Department of Transportation will cover $208,000 of the estimated project costs of $288,000, said Justin Yarosevich, administrative services director.

The project will widen the existing four-foot wide sidewalk to eight feet from Hudson Street east to the DNR boat ramp and will install lighting along the trail in the Frank Starr Park area.

Yarosevich said the project will be staged as to not to conflict with summer celebrations in Storm Lake next year.

* The Storm Lake Municipal Airport has received a Federal Aviation Administration grant for runway rehabilitation.

The grant will fund 90 percent of the project, which is estimated at $102,000.

The project includes an analysis of the concrete runways, aprons and taxiways at the airport. Repairs will be prioritized.

* The Storm Lake Police Department will continue to shoot crows within city limits this coming year and in future years on an "as needed" basis.

Public Safety Director Mark Prosser said there is a health concern this year, more so than in previous years. Health has been a concern though in the last two years the police have shot crows.

"This issue has caused a clear health problem, which has been perpetuated by the threat of the West Nile Flu to our region," he said. Crows are known carriers of the West Nile Virus, he said.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has given the SLPD authorization to shoot the birds.

The police department shot 568 birds two years ago and 738 last year.

* The council gave initial approval to the installation of a stoplight at the North Lake Avenue and C-49 intersection.

The addition of the stoplight was part of a development agreement between the city and Wal-Mart, which is building a Supercenter at that site.

Wal-Mart is covering expenses of the stoplight.

* The Snow Ban was approved by the council, which will prohibit overnight parking on designated city streets from November 1, 2002 to April 1, 2003.

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