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Council discusses sewer project, loan agreement, new pickups

Public hearing set for potential sale of Lincoln School

CNA file photo
Jason Wolfe, wastewater treatment plant employee, uses an XBOX controller in October to operate a remote-controlled tractor with front- and rear-facing cameras through the sewer line below North Division Street. Wolfe watched the live video feed from the cameras on a small television screen, at right, in the back of a work truck. The sewers were being televised to see if repairs need to be made. Creston City Council is now seeking bids for the repair project.
CNA file photo Jason Wolfe, wastewater treatment plant employee, uses an XBOX controller in October to operate a remote-controlled tractor with front- and rear-facing cameras through the sewer line below North Division Street. Wolfe watched the live video feed from the cameras on a small television screen, at right, in the back of a work truck. The sewers were being televised to see if repairs need to be made. Creston City Council is now seeking bids for the repair project.

The Creston City Council set a public hearing and bid letting for 6 p.m. March 6, for a sanitary sewer rehabilitation project to be completed in a stretch of alley between North Maple and North Sycamore streets, during Tuesday evening’s regular meeting in the Creston restored Depot. The bid date is March 1.

The construction project will amount to about 1,000 feet of 10-inch diameter sanitary sewer replacement and 1,880 feet of 6- through 12-inch diameter cured-in-place pipe lined sanitary sewer, as well as manhole replacement, earthwork, surface restoration and various other work to be completed in about a three-month construction time.

No more than a day of loss of sewer service is expected from the construction, and access to and from the alley is expected to be mostly preserved during construction, save a small section of the alley just east of North Elm Street. Construction will begin on the west end of the alley and move toward the east.

“I mean, you put the [sewer] liner in there, it’s going to give it a slick surface, and water should go down easier,” said Public Works Director Kevin Kruse.

The work will be completed in tandem with electrical work that Alliant Energy will be doing in that same alley, to coordinate earthwork. The amount of sewer replacement and rehabilitation will depend on the condition of the existing sewer, though it has already been televised.

Members of the council, City Administrator Mike Taylor and Kruse had discussed this project last year and felt it was a long time coming, citing previous issues with the alley’s stretch of sewer line. Members of the council also discussed that on account of the alley’s heavy traffic, extra safety precautions and traffic control will be necessary during construction events.

Loan agreement

The council also discussed and set a public hearing for 6 p.m. Feb. 20 to accept public comment on the authorization of a loan agreement and the issuance of a loan not to exceed $5,950,000 for the city of Creston.

The number was originally expected to be $5,000,000, but was increased to allow for some potential future savings, says Taylor.

“There’s an opportunity to potentially refund a bond that’s existing,” said Taylor. “But if it’s favourable for us to borrow the extra money (the extra $950,000) and pay off the existing note, that would be at a higher interest rate, then we would have approved that tonight so we don’t have to go through that process again.

“The street project is set at $5,000,000,” Taylor continued. “But this is just for us to take advantage of a potential savings in interest, if it so happens that it’s beneficial to the city – otherwise it won’t happen.”

New pickups

The purchase of two new pickups – an expense that was scheduled for in the city’s FY18 budget – was approved by the council for the city.

One will replace Kruse’s vehicle, and his existing pickup will be given to the city’s animal control department for use, which Taylor explained is in need of a vehicle with a topper for use. The other truck will be used by the city’s street department.

The trucks will be purchased from low bidder M&M Motors of Creston. Two Dodge Rams at a price of $18,790 each were approved to be purchased.

Lincoln School

The council set a public hearing for 6 p.m. Feb. 20 to accept public comment on the proposed sale of the city-owned Lincoln School property located at 1001 W. Jefferson St. A bid of $2,500 has been put forward by Karen Leonard, director for Mount Ayr-based Circle of Life Rehabilitation Services.

Leonard, the founder and owner of Circle of Life Rehabilitation Services, addressed the council in a letter, saying, “Our goal is to educate, empower and to inspire those who have a physical or mental disability.

“We as an agency provide the necessary services to those individuals so they can achieve their goals,” Leonard wrote. “Circle of Life operates homes or apartments with 24-hour staff supervision.”

Circle of Life has locations already in Mount Ayr, Osceola and Creston. Leonard hopes to use the Lincoln School building as a new office, space for day programs, space for holding the organization’s Special Olympics and space for four residential apartments.

Leonard expects close to 50 new employees to eventually be opened up for the community as a result of acquiring the building, which Circle of Life states the intention of renovating, and opening its doors in six to seven months’ time.

In other city council news:

Creston Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Ellen Gerharz presented to the council the new 2018 Southern Iowa Tourism Guide, which is in its 25th edition. The guide is available at various locations in and around Creston, including Hy-Vee, the restored Depot and the Union County Courthouse.

• The council appointed Dave Koets to the Creston Water Works Board of Trustees with term expiring Dec. 31, 2020.

• The council appointed Gary Shae to the Gibson Memorial Library Board of Trustees with term expiring July 1, 2019.

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