City awards $243,000 contract for RPD water main project

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By Shelia Tomkins

The Guttenberg city council met in regular session on Monday, Oct. 5. Mayor Russ Loven led councilmembers Virginia Saeugling, Fred Schaub, Dave Schlueter, Jane Parker and Steve Friedlein through the evening's agenda. City Manager Mary Willett and City Attorney Michael Schuster were also present at the council table.

River Park Drive water project

No comments were received at the public hearing for the River Park Drive water main replacement project. Marc Ruden, project engineer from IIW Engineers, was on hand to go through the seven bids received. The council agreed with his recommendation to award the contract to the low bidder, Horsfield Construction of Epworth, at $243,518 contingent on approval by funding partners. The first phase of the project is expected to be completed by mid-December. The portion in front of the school will be done in the spring.

Request denied

On a 3-2 vote, the council denied a request to bury overhead wires that was tabled at last month's meeting.

Attorney Alan Heavens, representing Irish Hound Studios, spoke to the council and repeated the request made last month to bury overhead utility lines (see Sept. 23 issue). Heavens again said that his client would pay all costs of installation and maintenance. He addressed concerns mentioned at last month's meeting: private dispute vs. city issue; a lack of response when trying to initiate negotiations with the adjoining property owner who is opposed to the request; lawsuit and liability issues; interpretation of comments from the Iowa Utilities Board, and the impact on economic development. After responding to questions from the council and discussion about city code regarding responsibility at the point of connection, Parker made a motion to grant the request, with a second by Saeugling. Schlueter asked, "What is the point of approving if we don't have the right to connect?" The motion failed on a 3-2 vote with Parker and Saeugling in the minority. 

Other business

In a time set aside for open comments from the public, resident Barb Pape inquired about the status of two nuisance properties. Resident Rex Svoboda asked if the city was still researching the feasibility of pursuing hydro-electric power in light of the fact that the city's permit to do so expired. City Manager Willett said she has had conversation with the state about it, funding is now available and she is going to re-file for the permit.

Sarah Snitker with Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission, gave a status update on the funding for the City of Guttenberg Community Development Block Grant owner-occupied housing project. She reported that renovations on two homes are completed, one is finishing up and two more are expected to be completed in November. 

An agreement with adjoining property owners for alley improvements in Block 9 were approved and the project was accepted. 

The council gave final approval to an ordinance that clarifies the wording regarding a $250 fee when requesting the disposal of city property.

Final approval was also given to an ordinance requiring the filing of every plat survey with the city clerk.

The council approved detour signs being placed in Guttenberg during Garnavillo's Van Buren Street reconstruction project next year.

Approval was given for a city letter to the Corps of Engineers regarding the system-wide improvement framework process. 

Jim Zerbe was present to answer any questions on the monthly marina report, and Chief George Morteo reviewed his monthly report.

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