Bonds for $1.1 million street project approved

Staff writer

Marion City Council accepted a bid to sell bonds to Commerce Bank Monday for $1,122,665 to pay for the street improvement project.

The project was broken into two separate construction bids, because construction on 4th and Williams Sts. will not begin until the old county jail is demolished.

The council accepted a bid for the first project from Vogts-Parga Construction of North Newton for a total of $836,515. The bid includes work on Freeborn St. from St. Luke Hospital to Lawrence St., also Tanglewood, Nickerson, and Thorp Sts., and select intersections around town.

The second bid from Hett Construction for work on 4th and Williams Sts. was accepted for the amount of $147,893.

According to EBH & Associates engineer Darin Neufeld, the bid prices were less than the city anticipated.

“We will be able to get more streets done than we thought, plus pay for the unforeseen costs that come up during construction, plus possibly add projects,” Neufeld said.

Bond attorney will determine whether the bonds can be used for another project or if the extra funds will go back into city bond payments. One of the proposed projects is for the paving of a parking lot for the new library addition.

“There was nothing put into the library expansion bid for a parking lot,” Neufeld said. “The library only had funds to build the facility and had talked to the city about help paying for a parking area of some sort. The city said they could afford to put rock down, but as long as the bond council clears it, we could put some of the extra bond money toward concreting the area.”

Council asked Neufeld to return with prices on concreting a parking lot, and a decorative walkway on 4th St.

The council also encouraged Neufeld to submit an aviation grant application to expand the apron on the south side of the city airport.

The grant would pay for 90 percent of the costs to construct an apron one-third bigger than the existing. According to Neufeld, this would add four to five new spots for sprayer planes, and eight to nine more for smaller aircraft.

“We’ve projected the potential cost to be around $30,000 after the grant,” he said.

Applications must be submitted before Sept. 31. Grants will be awarded July 1, 2015, but Neufeld said construction could begin as early as next spring.

“The city could pay the total cost, then be reimbursed by the grant, or wait until Jan. 2015 to award construction bids, and be reimbursed during the construction process,” he said.

A previous grant for new hangers was denied by the state this year, but still up for consideration.

The city approved a request by PRIDE to grant $3,000 to be paid out of street and alley and electrical supply funds after the group was denied a grant from the state. The money will allow PRIDE to hire a contractor to paint 19 light poles from 1st to 5th Sts. PRIDE will supply the paint.

Councilmember Jerry Dieter opposed saying while he thought the poles need painting, he thought city crews should complete the work.

The city decided to hire a contractor to sidestep any liability spilled paint might bring.

“If paint were to get on city vehicles it might cause problems with them passing state inspections,” Kjellin said. “We can say there will be no spilled paint, but with paint it always happens, especially when you’re painting that many things.”

PRIDE was successful in finding purchasers for 19 new redwood planters to be placed downtown. The planters were sold for $150, and will replace the whiskey barrel planters currently downtown.

The city approved zoning administrator Roger Holter’s request to designate assistant building inspectors. Holter said current inspector Marty Fredrickson is sometimes too busy to complete inspections in a timely manner, and because he is also a contractor, conflicts of interest could arise.

The positions would be filled by current city staff and require a 12-hour training course and the completion of five inspections with current inspector.

Councilmember Todd Heitschmidt wants the city to require Fredrickson to become nationally certified by completing 100 hours of training before appointing assistants.

“I think it would be difficult to rely on him to train others without having some sort of certification,” he said. “It’s not required in our bylaws, but I think it would be appropriate for it to be.”

Council asked Holter to create a job description and a list of candidates to the next council meeting.

In other news,

  • The council approved a lease addendum from Skywalkers Gym to lease another 3,000 square feet of a building at 828 N. Roosevelt St. The gym needs more space after doubling its enrollment from 25 to 50 students. The lease would add an extra $1,000 a month to Skywalkers current lease agreement.
  • The council rejected a petition to sponsor the elementary school Parent Advisory Council’s Dam Run for Education. Mayor Mary Olson said it was a great cause, but there’s no need to spend taxpayers money to sponsor it.
  • Council approved a payment of $6,465 to contractors for the Jex Addition sewer project.
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