Jefferson council OKs contract for pool bathroom, mulls water rates
By Rick Morain
The Jefferson City Council on Sept. 13 awarded a contract to add a family bathroom to the city swimming pool bathhouse. The project also includes replacement of cabinets in the bathhouse.
The work will be done by Westbrook Construction of Urbandale. The bathroom addition was bid at $89,861, and the cabinet replacement portion (Alternate Number One) was included at a cost of $14,400, for a total cost of $104,261. The improvements will be funded from hotel/motel tax funds.
Westbrook submitted the only bid. An earlier bid proposal to construct two family bathrooms was rejected by the council when it came in well above the estimated cost.
Potential water rate increase to fund plant improvements
The council placed on second reading the ordinances to increase water rates and sewer rates. The water rate increase would boost the base amount for water service for the first 134 cubic feet by 35 cents per month, from $11.86 to $12.45, and the price for additional 100 cubic feet increments by 37 cents, from $7.44 to $7.81. The raises would help fund anticipated water plant improvements.
The sewer rate increase would provide funding for a $15 million upgrade of the wastewater treatment plant to meet Iowa Department of Natural Resources discharge requirements. The annual increase would be 11 percent for each year (beginning July 1, 2023) for the next five years.
The base rate for sewer service would increase in the first year by $1.64 per month, from $14.90 to $16.54. The price 100 cubic feet in that year would increase by 69 cents, from $6.29 to $6.98.
City ordinances require readings at three separate council meetings, and then publication in the Jefferson Herald.
OTHER NOTABLE ACTION
• In other action, the council placed on first reading an ordinance to increase landfill fees and sanitation fees for the current 2022-23 fiscal year. The landfill fee would rise by 50 cents per month, from the current $2.50 per month to $3.00. The solid waste (garbage) collection fee would increase by $1.05 per month, from the present $11.45 to $12.50. The new fees would automatically increase 25 cents per month in each year for the next four fiscal years. City officials cited higher fuel, equipment, and disposal costs as the reasons for the fee increases.
• The council approved Pay Estimate No. 1 in the amount of $117,352.55 to Morris Enterprises Inc. for the Russell Street water main improvement project. The project runs from Highway 4 westward on Russell to a point near the wastewater treatment plant.
• The council also approved a change order and a pay estimate for the city airport runway extension project. Change Order No. 2 reduced the proposed cost by $11,953.55. Pay Estimate No. 8 (the final payment) of is in the amount of $74,440.25. Concrete Technologies is contractor for the runway extension. A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grant is funding the cost of the project.
The council then approved a resolution of final completion for the runway extension.
• An administrative contract with Region XII Council of Governments (COG) was approved for a state Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) application for construction of two apartments on the second floor of the building that now houses Centennial Restaurant at 100 East State, the northwest corner of the square.
• A resolution to write off bad debt for the years 2010 and 2011 in the total amount of $16,647.69 was also approved. The bad debts are for uncollectable utility fees from those years.
• The council approved Pay Estimate No. 10 in the amount of $138,052 in state CDBG funds for the improvement project to the building at 200 East State Street, the northeast corner of the square.
• A Class B native wine permit was approved for The Printer’s Box.
• During the open forum at the start of the meeting, Bruce Banister complained to the council about the unsightly state of a property near his home at the west end of Sunset Road in the south part of the city. The property, he said, has been a problem for the past five years. He noted the presence of unlicensed vehicles on the property.
Banister requested that the property owner be given a date certain to have the property cleaned up, and said it is in violation of city ordinances. The unsightliness devalues other homeowners’ properties in the area, he said.
Mayor Matt Gordon and building inspector Chad Stevens replied that the city is trying to work with the property owner. Councilmember Darren Jackson agreed with Banister that the city should take serious action against the property in question, and set time parameters for the property owner to clean it up.
• On another matter, building inspector Stevens said he hopes to have the vacated and overgrown three-story apartment house at the corner of Wilson and Adams Streets north of the square torn down in October.