by Dave DeMars
The St. Joseph City Council didn’t flinch when it came to approving some $355,000 in rehabilitation funds for Water Treatment plant number one (WTP #1) at the July 17 council meeting.
After receiving the background data from City Engineer Randy Sabart and Public Works Director Terry Thene, the council came to a clear understanding of the importance of addressing the water issue. In a memo, Thene and Sabart detailed the background.
St. Joseph has two water-treatment plants and as the city grows may require even more. WTP#1 was constructed in the 1970s along First Avenue NW. It removes iron and manganese that occurs naturally in the waters of wells 3, 4 and 5. A second treatment plant WTP#2, was constructed in the 2000s and treats water from wells 6, 7 and 8.
“From a water supply perspective, the City is fortunate to operate two WTPs because of the redundancy and safety factor provided. The two WTPs treat water from separate well fields. Having such diversity in source water and treatment is considered an asset, particularly in the event of well contamination or treatment plant equipment failure,” the background memo said.
While the plant has served the city well, in order to continue producing quality water, a 1996 steel gravity filter and other treatment equipment within the WTP#1 are in need of rehabilitation or replacement. That possibility was raised earlier in the year during Capital Improvement Plan budgeting and the anticipated cost was about $250,000. With some additional replacement and rehabilitation work the price tag crept up to about $355,000. The off-setting factor is the city can expect another 20 years of useful life from WTP#1 and continued clean and safe water for residents. Final completion of all the work will be sometime in March 2018.
In a second related public-works item, Thene requested approval and funds for some fencing around Centennial Park. Presently there are four or five posts that delineate the boundary of the park, but those posts are on private property. The property owner has requested removal of the posts which were put in place 30 or so years ago and no one really seems to know why. The city will have to comply with the request, but Thene requested funds in the amount of $8,100 in order to remove the posts and construct a fence to mark the park boundaries. With little discussion, the council approved the money.
Council also approved up to $57,000 for street maintenance. The money will be spent for crack sealing and filler and other street sealers to help maintain the streets and make them last longer.
The council also revisited the issue of the dog park. This time there were better results. After hearing a presentation on the issue by council member Matt Killam and a review of costs and revenue income, and how the park would be administered and policed, the council approved a three-phase plan. Killam urged the council to release the $10,000 now rather than later so the park could be built without delay. Additional future donations will help to meet the rest of the match that was originally part of the funding package.
Park Board Chair John Anderson also spoke in favor of releasing the $10,000 in order to get the park built.
“Part of what the Park Board discussed at our last meeting and re-looking at this was that it’s important to get something established so our donors, businesses and organizations will see something happening,” Anderson said. “Hopefully that will promote future donations.”
It was suggested the maintenance of the park might be through donations or through fees attached to licensing. Council approved releasing the $10,000 plus the donated money to get the dog park construction started.
A final item that drew the attention of the council was a violation of the liquor ordinance by the local American Legion. The fine was $150, but council also agreed the matrix of violations and fines, which had not been updated since 2003, needed to be reviewed and updated.
Items of interest that were dealt with in the consent agenda included the following:
● Donations were accepted in the amount of $5,297.
● Approved funds for the Millstream Park Shelter repair and rehabilitation in the amount of $22,036.99.
● Received and accepted a report on the 2016 TIF report.
● Granted an interim-use permit to allow a non-owner occupied residential rental license.
● Approved a conditional-use permit for the purposes of operating an event center; and authorized execution of Resolution 2017-034 adopting findings of fact approving a variance from the off-street parking requirement.
● Authorized the mayor and administrator to execute Resolutions 2017-035 through 2017-041 amending Ordinances 401, 403, 405 and 407; adopting Ordinances 408 and 409; and authorized summary publication of the aforementioned ordinance amendments and adoptions. 408 and 409 replace the other three ordinances which dealt primarily with collection of water fees, billing and utilities.
The council also had a brief presentation on its roles and responsibilities by Tom Jovanovich, city attorney. Council adjourned at 7:55 p.m.