Spring Brings Many Preparations for Street and Sewer Improvements to Grinnell
By Helen Hotchkin
The Grinnell City council meeting was held on March 17, 2013 at 7:00 pm with Mayor, Gordon Canfield, Julie Hansen, Jim White, Sondra Burnell, Jo Wray, Byron Hueftle-Worley present, as well as City Manager, Russ Behrens.
Greg Roth gave an in-depth talk about the Phase 4 construction 4th avenue between State and Pearl streets. They plan to have the first phase of this project, east of West street to begin in April or May with completion scheduled for the end of August. The second phase, on the west side of the highway, will begin either in September or Spring of 2015; this will be left up to the contractor choice.
This construction includes replacing globes and repairing bases and sidewalks, replace traffic signals, painting parking strips in downtown area, new crossing at 4th and Park Street. mid-block crossing, and extending 42” storm sewer west of the highway.
There will be new signs on Interstate 80 welcoming visitors into our city. The council approved the monumental sign, one of four design submitted by Michael Anthony, civil engineer and project manager from West Des Moines.
Jan Anderson, Director of the Public Works and Grounds, gave an excellent presentation of the work being done on the sewer lining project with repairing, maintaining and/or replacing the sewer system which have been in place since 1915.
Anderson also spoke about the work being done to upgrade water meters according to the American Water Works Association (AWWA) standards. In 2005, they went to bi-monthly billing to cut budget costs. They also began replacing meters with gallon readings rather than cubic feet in 2008. They plan to begin monthly billings by July 1, 2016.
Anderson also addressed his concern for the record number of water main breaks in the community. By March of 2011 there had only been 7 main breaks with an annual record of 20; by March of 2012 there were 10 with an annual record of 22; by March 2013 there were 11 with an annual record of 24. But, by March this year there have already been 27 main breaks.
Anderson also wants to remind everyone about the mandatory sump pump inspections for Grinnell residents. They have inspected just 634 so far out of 3500 structures. These inspections will help planning and designing the new plant scheduled for 2018. There is no charge for the inspection. There is a grant program to help pay cost of storm sewer system compliance which usually runs around $750-$1000. This grant program is not income based, it is available to everyone. Late fees for inspections will be processed after December 15. Call 641-236-2600 for inspection appointment.
Jo Wray, Chairman of the Finance Committee, proposed changes for Franchise fees. Currently the city only collects 44.2% of the 1 cent tax on local gas and electric bills, or about $72,000. If we accepted the Franchise fee in lieu of the local option, the city would get $92,000. The customer would not see any changes in their bills. This was approved unanimously.
Burnell, on the Planning Committee, also discussed initiation of the Iowa Great Place competition for the Central Park Plan.