By Jan Huffman Herald Correspondent
The Clinton Herald
---- — DEWITT — The required public hearing for the upcoming Eighth Street project brought citizen input and a detailed explanation to the DeWitt City Council on Monday.
The project includes the reconstruction of Eighth and East Eighth streets from about 400 feet west of East Fourth Avenue to Third Avenue. Installation of new water main, sanitary sewer and sidewalk where necessary, particularly sidewalk on the north side of East Eight Street, are part of the project.
The project is two-phased and takes into consideration Clinton County Fair traffic from July 16-20. It is a 200-day contract, with $3,000 a day of liquidated damages if not completed on time. The estimated cost is $800,000. Bids are due March 12 with approval of contract on March 17.
Resident Alan Kagemann, who lives on Seventh Street, asked the council if it would be a narrow, 31-foot wide street, similar to 10th Street, which he called “a disaster.” By narrowing the street, he said, the city was stopping traffic flow and he was against it.
“I wouldn’t call 10th Street a disaster,” said City Administrator Steve Lindner, but conceded it does take some cooperation. Sometimes when cars are parked on both sides, moving cars must stop to let one pass. He said, 31 feet was the usual width of a residential street and wide streets made faster traffic.
Councilman Kurt Ketelsen noted that a wider street costs the city more money for upkeep.
Later in the meeting, the council approved the plans, specifications and form of contract for the Eighth Street project. Bid security was set at 10 percent of the bid.
The council approved agreements with the public works and police bargaining units. The public works four-year contract includes a 3 percent wage increase for each year and an increase in the license premium to 12 cents per hour. Also standby pay increased to $31 for Friday and evenings before holidays in 2015, $32 in 2016 and $33 in 2017. Standby on Saturdays and Sundays increases to $41 in 2015, $42 in 2016 and $43 in 2017. Good Friday becomes a whole day holiday and the education bonus is the same as that of the police department.
The four-year police contract also includes a 3 percent wage increase for each year, a shift premium increase of 35/50 cents per hour, and adds the day after Thanksgiving as a full holiday. Overtime at court is converted to comp time, the uniform allowance increases to $800 per year, and insurance premiums paid by officers gradually increase to 10 percent, which is what all other employees pay. The contract permits annual performance evaluations and limits college reimbursements to payments for a single degree in any category, such as a bachelor’s degree.
Two liens were approved for release. The lien of $120.81 on 824 Fifth St. was released after utility bills were paid in full. The lien at 503 Fourth St. for $710 was for sidewalk repairs.
Two public hearings were set for March 3. The first is for the 2014-15 budget which includes 3 percent raises in water and sewer rates. The second public hearing is for the sale of bonds not to exceed $4 million. A sum of $2.34 million is for refinancing of a callable bond, which will save the city $250,000 over 10 years.
The council approved support for the Eastern Iowa Housing Corporation Housing Trust Fund, which assists very low income persons with housing needs; reimbursing the park maintenance lead and building official $25 per month for using their own cell phones; addition of part-time officers to the police roster; and the final reading of an amendment to the city’s code of ordinances concerning “disorderly houses.”
In addition, the council approved purchase of a cash drawer, receipt printer, and computer to remotely connect the DeWitt Fitness Center to City Hall for cash receipting at a cost of $2,585 with a year of maintenance. Lindner said this was the best way to track payments, and Finance Director Deanna Rekemeyer said receipts would be printed rather than hand-written as is the current practice.
The council discussed the River Valley Coop proposed expansion with a 72,000 square foot hoop building for the storage of grain on Lot 6 of the Lake Street Development subdivision. The location is east of the new Eastern Iowa Electric Coop facility on South Fifth Street, and Lot 6 is adjacent to the South Fifth Street right-of-way. Approval of the preliminary subdivision plat required extension of South Fifth Street and installation of public utilities.
Thomas Leiting, CEO of River Valley, is requesting waiving the extension at this time saying that the street is not needed for development and the cost would make the building expansion impractical. Leiting indicated some infrastructure could be installed, particularly the water main could be extended. He added the street should not be extended because of trucks pulling in and out, which makes a safety issue.
The city’s public works department indicated the street is not essential but the water main should be installed along South Fifth Street to East Third Avenue for fire protection.
The council had no objections to waiving the street extension but considered gravel on the ROW. Given a general direction, Lindner said a more precise proposal would be brought back to the council.
Also the Lincoln Park bandshell proposal was reviewed. Promoter Jerry Jackson acknowledged the weather has not permitted evaluating the site and noted that under consideration was glass from Guardian Industries for the sides.
The council disallowed a reimbursement to Ron and Renee Wilson at 1016 12th Ave. for damages resulting from a sanitary sewer back-up. Council members said no payments for damages rejected by the city’s insurance company had ever been paid and it would set a precedent. The Wilsons paid $5,096 to repair the damage and install an overflow valve.