Cresco Council raising water, sewer rates again
Wed, 04/11/2018 - 4:59pm admin
Marcie Klomp News Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
CRESCO - With water and sewer capital projects on the horizon, Cresco City Council is looking at raising rates again to add to its reserve. The issue was discussed at the April 2 regular monthly meeting.
City Clerk Michelle Girolamo explained the water and sewer accounts have a healthy reserve at the present time, but future improvements could eat away at them pretty quickly. Some upcoming improvements include a $2.2 million plant improvement to the sewer in the next five years.
Within 10 years, nutrient reduction upgrades could cost over $6 million. Public Works Director Rod Freidhof said changing rules on nitrogen and phosphorous are going to affect nearly every town.
Council will look at a four percent increase in water and five percent in sewer. In addition, a capital improvement charge of $1.00 will be assessed to utility bills. The extra charge had not been increased recently and will help with water, sewer and storm sewer infrastructure.
• In other business, City Council members voted to give a $3,500 Tourism Grant to Howard County Fair. Total expenses for the fair are 100 times that, or $350,000. The Fair was the only request for the first quarter of 2018.
• Two more varieties of trees were added to the ones approved for residents to plant in the boulevards. The new ones are London Plane and Ironwood Hornbeam. They join Crabapple, Japanese Lilac, Serviceberry, Oak (Red and White), Hackberry, Linden, Elm (Disease Resistant) and Cork.
Freidhof explained, “We have 130 trees to plant this year. Usually we get grants from Alliant and Black Hills for $750 each. This year we got $3,500 from each. So if someone wants a tree . . . come see me!”
• Council members approved paying 15 percent, or $681, for a paving project at the airport. The total cost of the project is $4,540.
• A resident’s request to have the City waive a shut-off fee for a past-due account was denied.
• A public hearing was held on construction of Well #3’s re-casing. Jason Barnum, a representative of Peerless Well & Pump, shared his disappointment in the direction he felt council was going to vote on the project.
The project had been estimated at $180,000, and two bids, opened at the March 19 meeting, were over the estimate. This gave council authorization to reject all bids. The other company was Northway, which is planning to charge rent on the use of a pump being used by the City.
The vote on whether to go forward with the project, with the low bid from Peerless for $197,983 versus Northway’s bid of $263,795, was rejected on a vote of 3-2, with Amy Bouska, Steve McCarville and Dave Brenno voting to reject and Jan Carman and Teresa McGee voting to move forward.
• A second public hearing was held in regards to proceeding with a CDBG grant for a housing rehabilitation project. Lori Brockway of Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission spoke to council members about the project.
“Cresco’s aging housing stock is a real concern, with 39 percent of the housing being constructed 1939 or earlier and 80.8 percent of the housing being built 1979 or earlier.
“An LMI survey was completed in March 2018 which indicated an LMI of 54 percent for a targeted area of Cresco’s households. Additionally, there is an unmet need that has been identified through the NEIRHTF program with waiting list continuing to be maintained. This further substantiated the need for owner occupied housing and those 54 percent would benefit from the assistance of the CDBG funds to improve these homes.”
The proposed project will be funded with $251,790 of Community Development Block Grant Funds for the owner-occupied program for six homes.
The council approved the proposal from UERPC.
• Freidhof gave his report, noting the department has been busy sweeping streets. With the calendar saying spring is here, many Iowa One Calls have been requested.
Work will begin shortly on the alley behind Leuthold’s.
• Police Chief Tim Ruroden has been reviewing job applications for a police officer position.
The next regular Cresco City Council meeting will be Monday, April 16 at 7 p.m.