City of Monona plans to expand contract with PeopleService

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By Audrey Posten, Times-Register


The Monona Council, at its May 3 regular meeting, opted to expand the operation and maintenance agreement between the city and PeopleService Inc., a move that would eliminate the need for a new public works employee to be certified to handle the distribution side of the city’s water and wastewater systems. 


With the impending retirement of street superintendent Randy Evanson, the city had advertised for a full-time public works employee who could handle the duties, but city administrator Barb Collins said none of the five applicants already had the necessary certifications.


“Even if you find someone certified, there’s still a workload issue. You have to look at the projects coming up,” said Jared Burkle with PeopleService, referencing upcoming work to address inflow and infiltration issues with Monona’s sewer system.


The expanded contract with PeopleService would start July 1 and run for a five-year period. Adding another PeopleService employee and having PeopleService deal with all water and sewer items would mean an estimated $14.16 per month increase on residents’ water bills, Collins previously noted.


“This is a painful thing—spending a lot of money,” said councilman John Elledge, “but our focus needs to go there for awhile.”


Collins said a new public works employee could potentially get certified, in which case the city could opt out of the contract down the road.


Elledge along with Bridget Schlein, Andrew Meyer and Tim Wright approved expanding the contract, but Preston Landt voted “no.”


“I think more time could be put in to figure something out,” Landt said.


City looks at solar potential

Collins presented an update from Eagle Point Solar, a company the city has been working with about possibly using solar to generate electricity for 10 city-owned locations. 


“The bad news is the biggest location, the waste water treatment plant, we can’t do,” said Collins. 


However, after looking at current kWh usage and area size for possible solar arrays, it was determined the remaining nine sites would be feasible. That includes wells #2 and #3, the swimming pool, community center, city hall, fire station, Gateway Park campground, city garage and Egbert Street lift station.


Collins said the estimated project price was $415,140, with an estimated savings of $1,046,262 over 25 years if the city paid for the project up front. If the city opted for a purchase power agreement instead, where an investor covered the project, there would be little or no up front cost for 25 years, with an estimated savings of $649,743.  There would then be a purchase fee at the end of the 25 years.  


A representative from Eagle Point Solar will attend the next council meeting to answer questions.


Grant being submitted for ADA space

The council gave Monona Chamber and Economic Development, Inc. Executive Director Rogeta Halvorson the go-ahead to submit an application to Upper Mississippi Gaming Corporation (UMGC) for a grant to add an ADA parking space at Gateway Park for disabled patrons to safely reach the all-inclusive playground, veterans memorial and Butterfly Trail. Additional funds would be used to hard surface the seven RV sites that are currently gravel.

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