$619,400 contract awarded for city sewer improvements

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By Shelia Tomkins

The Guttenberg city council awarded a contract for  approximately $619,400 in sanitary sewer improvements when it met in regular session on Monday, July 13.

Municipal Pipe and Tool  of Hudson was  the low bidder with a base bid of $479,335 plus alternate options at $140,015 for a total of $ 619,440.90.  Mat Sauer of Veenstra-Kim, the engineering firm overseeing the project, told the council there were three bidders and all came in under estimates.

The majority of the project cost will come from a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant awarded to the city last year. The remainder will be financed with a sewer revenue loan from the State Revolving Loan fund. The project consists of lining and grouting sewer lines, some sewer line point repairs, and rehabilitation of some manholes. Depending on the contractor’s schedule, it is hoped that the work will be completed this year.

On hand for Monday night's meeting were Mayor Bill Frommelt, council members Mick Pierce, Austin Greve, Fred Schaub, Virginia Saeugling, and Jane Parker, City Manager Denise Schneider and City Attorney Michael Schuster.

Community Vitality Director

In April, the council approved the creation of a new position, that of community vitality director, charged with sustaining and generating local business. On Monday evening, the council voted to offer a contract to Emily Yaddof at a salary of $50,000 per year plus benefits

Yaddof was recommended by a committee that interviewed applicants. A commitment from the Guttenberg Economic and Development Commission and the hospital foundation will help support the cost of the position, with the balance coming from the city's revolving loan fund.   

Trailer parking

The mayor introduced a proposal to address trailer parking on city streets. The current ordinance states trailers must be moved after sitting 24 hours in the same spot. The mayor said some people "play games" by moving their trailers a few inches after 24 hours. The proposed ordinance amendment would require that trailers be re-parked more than 100 feet from the previous parking spot. 

A related proposed addition to the ordinance is designed to protect adjoining property owners. It  would limit parking of vehicles, etc. in front of abutting properties except when "reasonably necessary." 

After lengthy discussion, the first reading of the ordinance passed on a 3-2 vote, with Parker and Schaub voting in dissent. The second reading of the ordinance will come up for a vote at the monthly meeting in August. The ordinance must be read and approved three times before final passage.

EV charging station

Jim Osterhaus of Guttenberg, representing the Clayton County Energy District, gave a presentation on public electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. He said that currently Clayton County is an EV charging station "desert," and a station in the community would be an economic development opportunity. "Charging stations would serve as an incentive for visitors to come here," he said.  

The CCED would like to construct four EV stations in the county and has applied for grant money from Upper Mississippi Gaming Commission to fund the project. Osterhaus said that the UMGC grant would provide approximately 75% of the cost. He asked the city to share the remainder of the cost for a local station, estimated at $4,000. The council agreed to write a letter of intent in support of the project.

Other business

The city manager gave an update on the Schiller Street Corridor project. Design aspects and light pole replacements were discussed. She also said the downtown riverbank repair project is awaiting design drawings. The skate park project is moving forward pending ground water levels and weather. 

The council awarded bids on street curb and gutter replacements and storm intake repairs to two firms, Baker Enterprises and F.L. Krapfl Inc., at a total cost of approximately $50,000.

After receiving some inquiries, councilmember Jane Parker posed the idea of having a public beach along the river. The city manager will do some research to gather input from other river towns.

Parker also asked that the council re-visit a proposal to have public parking in the lot just south of the municipal building. 

Discussion was held on a payment request from Burbach Aquatics for the pool project. The council took no action on the claim, pending conversation with Burbach by the city manager and city attorney.

Business owner Mike Hefel addressed the council on his riverfront lease. The council granted his request for a $280 refund in the lease fee due to 35-feet affected by riverbank erosion.   

The council approved a request from Kari Hoyheim for an adjustment in her sewer bill due to a water leak that didn't enter the sewer system. 

The city attorney gave an update on the status of an abandoned house on South Second Street. The city is asking the court to declare the property abandoned and award title to the city.

William Kann was appointed to the Guttenberg Economic and Industrial Development Commission. 

The city will advertise for bids on solid waste collection and consider them at the August meeting. 

A UMGC grant application for playground equipment was okayed.  

Approval was given to Ryan Jaster to take part in the electric line maintainer apprenticeship program.

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