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Council finalizes contract and bonds for $19 million WRRF construction project

By Kelly Terpstra,

Charles City finalized and voted to accept the contract and bonds for the $19 million construction project to build a water resource recovery facility (WRRF) at Monday’s regular meeting.

The City Council voted unanimously last month to award Portzen Construction the project to replace the 54-year-old wastewater treatment plant. The low bid of $16,948,000 from the construction company out of Dubuque came in $575,000 under the city’s working estimated cost to build the new activated sludge plant.

The construction of the WRRF will help reduce nitrogen and phosphorus – two nutrients that have been identified by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources that are required to be reduced under the city’s most recent permit issued in 2014.

Creation of equalization basins, that help with heavy water flows, is also a key component to the project.

City Administrator Steve Diers updated the council on the agreement between the city and the Charles City Area Development Corp. regarding the Avenue of the Saints Development Park certified site.

The development and grant agreement lays out the ground rules for the city to grant up to $2.156 million to CCADC to purchase 75 acres of real estate that is in the process of being designated as a state of Iowa certified development site. The industrial park is located on South Grand Avenue and the CCADC will maintain, market and attempt to sell the property.

No action was taken on Monday, but language in the agreement was changed to specify that no permission is needed from the city for the CCADC to sell the property unless the sale per acre went below $30,000. The city’s purchase price equates to $28,500 per acre.

Diers said there would be further discussion about possibly requiring CCADC get the site certified before the council would consider approval or whether or not that vote could come after the site is certified.

“Once it’s certified we can really start all the wheels in motion to amend the urban renewal and all that good stuff. We’re kind of tweaking this as we move along,” said Diers. “That’s how we approached this whole thing, that this would be a certified site. So if this doesn’t get certification, is this something we still want to pursue?”

Other provisions were established in the agreement that dealt with rules and practices for ground lease in relation to crop damage.

The council approved a $5,000, five-year lean toward costs associated with the construction of a wooden privacy fence for K-9 narcotics dog, Jordy. The fence will be located at the home of Jordy’s handler, Charles City Police Officer Dario Gamino, in Floyd, and the estimated cost is $6,245.

“We’d hate to see him just leave and sell that house and we have our fence. So we want to have some type of recoup mechanism in with that,” said Diers.

The reimbursement agreement decreases each year by a $1,000 or is waived or terminated by 2024.

The council held off on a $73,000 bid to do restoration work on the Lions Pool water slide until bidding guidelines are met. Fischer Brothers, a water slide restoration company out of Wisconsin, provided that quote to fix rust, cracks and other damage to the slide.

“We’re going to err on the side of caution here as well and not take action on this tonight but move forward with the process of getting competitive quotes,” said Diers.

No action was taken on a third item on Monday’s agenda. The 2019 Drainage Project was not brought forth for a vote to have a public hearing because only five temporary or permanent easements out of 10 have been received. The letting has been canceled with this delay, according to City Engineer John Fallis.

The city is still planning on a winter letting with construction taking place in 2020.

The project includes improvements to the Highway 18 storm water drainage in the 1100 block of South Grand, a diversion ditch in the 500 and 600 blocks of J Street and site drainage at the Charles City Arts Center.

Other action taken at the council meeting is as follows:

– The council set a public hearing date of Sept. 16 to transfer city property to the Charles City Community School district. “Outlot C,” which is adjacent to the school and behind the Allied Subdivision, is needed for part of the plan for the new athletic sports complex. Comet Drive needs to be modified to make room for the new baseball diamond. School engineers have determined that a 100 by 200 foot area is enough room to make those changes to the street. The city plans to sell the property to the CCSD for $1, plus legal fees.

– The council OK’d a permanent easement that would be obtained from Richard Turpen at 1929 Gil Avenue. The easement is required to install generators at the Maple Heights lift station. The existing lift station is in the street right-of-way and there isn’t enough room to locate the generator there. The generator would be placed to the south of the lift station on private property.