August 31, 2008

Joint Meeting Discussion Part 2, Elementary School

Posted in Council Meetings at 3:11 pm by thevoicesofstuart

By Peggy Schlichter

The School Board informed the council that there is no longer a need for the street closure because they are not going to build across it any more.  They have decided to build back where the west section was taken down.

Mr. Crawford asked if you are building over that area what do we have under there that needs attention.  Mr. Henderson stated that there is a storm sewer that runs under the area.  If they are taking the footings out of there then yes and the storm pipe will become an issue.  Mr. Sherman asked if he was talking about rebuilding it or re-routing it.  Mr. Henderson informed him that he is not in favor of it running under the new building.  The council agreed that it was not a good idea to leave it there.

The mayor raised the issue of the roof drains that were tied into the sanitary sewer system.  Mr. Henderson informed her that those drains were from the section already taken down but that a little more investigation needed to be done to make sure that the other ones do not go into the sanitary system.  Mr. Sherman asked if they had video of the storm sewer and sanitary sewer.  He was informed that they did for the storm sewer but not the sanitary sewer.  In order to check the roof drains they will have to be dye tested to make sure that they do not go into the sanitary sewer.

The mayor asked Mr. Aldrich if he would know the cost of rerouting the storm sewer by the next meeting.  He informed the council that if that plan to run it south to the end of the block and turning east as was discussed before the cost is approximately $70 K.

Mr. Henderson informed the council that that storm sewer line runs diagonally across the tennis courts and parking lot west of the school to the manhole in front of the section being taken down now.  From there it runs straight east under the building to a manhole behind the building by the band room doors.    Then it makes a short jog to the southeast to another manhole then it goes under the other section of the building down to the street then it goes straight east to the creek.  This line takes a lot of flow.  It collects the entire uptown commercial area as well as 4th Street on Division then south.  It handles a tremendous amount of water.

Mr. Crawford asked if there was a bigger re-routing plan they needed to consider.  Should we look at more than just around the new building.  Mr. Henderson stated that was possible.

The mayor asked Mr. Aldrich if he had looked at that area last week.  He informed them that he looked at the area further east at Harlan Street because of the flooding problems out there.  Mr. Sherman stated that the problem he sees is why go back that way with the issues we have now at Harlan Street because it all runs right down there now.  If we go to that extend we might as well run it on down 2nd Street to Harlan Street.  Mr. Aldrich pointed out that now you are talking about running it more than a half of block.  Mr. Sherman pointed out that it is only 2 blocks further.  If you take it from where it turns to go under the school and take it to 2nd Street then go east to Harlan.  That will take it off of the problem area we already have on Harlan Street and it will probably be a bigger line and can be run straight to the creek.  Mr. Henderson informed them that the two 18 inch lines come together at Mr. Tisl’s now.   Mr. Sherman pointed out that if you took the one 18 inch line that runs to Tisl’s and alleviate some of the problem there.  Mr. Henderson pointed out that you will intersect the other one before you got to Harlan Street.  Mr. Sherman pointed out that that was good because they would not go behind Mr. Tisl’s and the problems to the south.  We are already talking about spending money to fix the problem at Harlan Street so maybe it is time we look at this in a different way than just going around the new addition to the school.  Mr. Belden asked Mr. Aldrich to look at both options before the next meeting and get a cost estimate.  Mr. Aldrich stated that he would have a report for them at the September 8th meeting.  Mr. Sherman asked how many feet the $70 K estimate covered.  Mr. Aldrich stated 620 feet but that will not reflect the cost because going down second you will be crossing streets, drives, gas lines etc.  Mr. Sherman pointed out that he thought there was only one driveway to cross.  Mr. Aldrich stated he did not know until he went and surveyed the route.  You have to be careful of what else is there and that adds to the cost.

The mayor asked if there were any other issues that needed to be talked about for the elementary school.  Mr. Christensen raised the issue of the water main and wanted to know if the planned renovations will require any changes to the 4 inch water main to supply the school and is it big enough to support the needs.  The sprinkler system will require its own tap and will require a minumum 6 inch line.  Mr. Christensen pointed out that you might as well plan on an 8 inch line for the sprinkler system.  When asked how far they have to go to get to a 8 inch line he stated 2nd Street has an 8 inch line.

The mayor asked if there were any other issues.  There were none and the meeting adjourned.


August 29, 2008

Joint Meeting Discussion Part 1, The High School

Posted in Council Meetings at 9:34 pm by thevoicesofstuart

By Peggy Schlichter

Dr. Arnold opened the discussion with several questions they needed answered to help them determine the infrastructure costs for the new high school and the remodel to convert the old high school into an elementary school.  The new high school was discussed first.

Dr. Arnold asked what they needed to do to get the road, water and sewer brought to the new school.  Where do they have to go to get it.  How far do they have to go.  Can the city bring it to the building.  Do they have any idea of what the costs are.

The School Board pointed out that they had several options for the road going to the new school.  One option was to extend NE 2nd Street with a split for a future housing development.  The second option was to just curve a short entrance/exit to Front Street/Highway 6 at the top of the hill.  Mr. O’Keeffe asked if there were any mandatory requirements for streets feeding a school.  There are none that are known at this time.  Mr. Waddell asked if RAMBO had talked to the county about turning lanes off of the highway.  The county has not been approached yet.  The School Boards opinion is that access to the school would be much safer by extending 2nd Street rather than turning off of the highway.  Mr. Crawford asked where the driveways were that they were considering using as the entrance/exit.  They are at the top of the hill.  One goes to the Tiernan residence and the other goes to the Wambold residence.

The mayor asked if there was any money in the bond issue for infrastructure.  There is but the question is whether or not it is enough to cover everything.  At this point the infrastructure costs will drive how much high school we build and how much renovation we can afford.

Mr. Bump asked if there was an engineers estimate for what the infrastructure costs are.  There are none yet.  Mr. Belden asked Mr. Aldrich if he had any idea of the costs for the infrastructure.  Mr. Aldrich stated that extending 2nd Street straight east just to the property line would be approximately $200 K.  Nothing north or south nor the loop south.  This will cross the All Saints property.

The next question raised by Dr. Arnold was where will the sewer lines come into the property.  Mr. Henderson informed them that there is a manhole straight north of the vet clinic that connects into the line that runs down N. Harlan Street.  Mr. Sherman asked if there was a sewer close at Front Street.  Mr. Henderson informed him that they would have to go all the way back to Madison Street to connect to the Front Street sewer.

Mr. Sherman raised the issue that they were running on the assumption that they could just go across the All Saints property and that might be a pretty large assumption.  Mr. Henderson pointed out that elevation was a concern also since it was very shallow behind the vet clinic.  Mr. Sherman pointed out that they did not know what the church’s feelings are on this and going this way was basically cutting off some of their frontage.  It would make sense if that street was put in and all the lines could be run along with it.

Mr. Sherman asked Mr. Aldrich if he had looked at the water and sewer for cost estimates.  Mr. Aldrich informed them that FCM had put together some option estimates.  The School Board had not seen them yet.  One option is that if there are no roads going in then the sewer would go south to Front Street and run on the north side of the road to the property line.  In round numbers it would be about $200 K.  Mr. Waddell asked if there was enough fall to do that.  Mr. Aldrich stated there was.

The School Board pointed out that where they have located the school is the only place on the property they can put it without having to put in a pumping station.

The mayor asked how much farther it was from the property line to the school.  It is about another 200 plus feet just to the closest point of the building.  She then asked what the cost would be for that.  Mr. Aldrich stated that it would be an additional cost of about $20 to $30 K.  Mr. O’Keeffe asked if this line hooks into the one on N. Harlan.  Mr. Henderson confirmed that it goes from the vet clinic straight west down 2nd Street to N. Harlan then north.  Mr. O’Keeffe asked if this will impact the existing problem of the storm system at 2nd and Harlan.  Mr. Henderson informed them that it is completely separate systems there.

Mr. Aldrich pointed out that the sanitary sewer on N. Harlan is very flat and tends to plug off now and then.  The city has to watch it closely.  Mr. Fry pointed out that they had recommended to the city that it gets cleaned yearly because it carries all the sewage from the south side down Harlan Street.  Mr. Henderson pointed out it was about two thirds of it and there is another line on the other side of Harlan.  Mr. Fry informed them that the Utility Board had looked at putting in another feeder line but it was not cost effective at that time because there was no new developments in that part of the city.

Mr. Sherman asked if 300 people was the right number to use in their planning.  He was informed that occasionally that number is much larger for events at the school.

Mr. Belden asked if the school had a ball park number on what they intended to spend on drives, sewers and water.  He was informed that none of these items have been priced out yet.

Mr. Crawford asked if the east entrance road was going to be built regardless of what happens with 2nd Street.  The School Board is looking at making it a single entrance/exit at the top of the hill as a more cost effective option.

Mr. Fry asked Mr. Christensen if he had received any estimates on the water line.  Mr. Christensen stated that the last time they met was on June 9th.  Their initial estimate for water on the property was $44 K but they need to add some more hydrants and valves to the cost.  A better estimate would be $50 K.  When asked Mr. Aldrich thought that it would be closer to $60 K based on the feet involved.

Mr. Christensen pointed out that the city needed to decide if they were going to put 2nd Street in or not.  It would not be very cost effective to run the line to Front Street then have to turn around in a couple of years and have to run one down an extended 2nd Street.  Mr. Belden agreed and stated that regardless of how it goes in we need to look at and prepare for 2nd Street in the future.

A question was asked about where the water main runs.  Mr. Christensen informed them that it runs parallel with the gas main coming from Redfield.  The water main turns south at the driveways and runs out to Front Street then west into town.

The School Board was asked if they have a budget for the high school yet and did it include infrastructure costs.  Dr. Arnold informed them that RAMBO was working on it to incorporate some architectural changes and should have something by next week.  The problem they are having is that until the city can tell them exactly where they will run the lines to it is not possible for them to complete the budget.  They need to know what is not going to happen.  Mr. Sherman stated that we were in the same boat and he would like to say that we could do whatever they want but we need to be realistic.

The School Board then asked what is the usual way the city handles utility lines.  What did the city do with the development south of the interstate.  Mr. Sherman informed them that south of the interstate the developer put in all the lines and the city will reimburse them as homes are sold.  For individual properties the utilities are brought to the property line.  It is then the owners responsibility to run them to the house.

Mr. Belden asked Mr. Aldrich what is typical in other cities he has worked in.  Mr. Aldrich informed them that either the developer puts it in or the city brings it up to the property line.  Very seldom does he see the city bring service to the residence.

Mr. Bump stated that the proposed 2nd Street extension would be nice but it seems to him that the Catholic Church aught to decide if they are interested in trying to develop that property.  Then it would be their project if they wanted to find a developer and try and do it.  If that is the case then that is where the utilities should go.  Somebody needs to get a hold of them to see if they are interested.

Mr. Sherman stated that it would not be right for the city to put the street in when they had streets that are falling apart.  You are basically speculating that someone would move out there.

Dr. Arnold asked again where are you going to bring the sewer and water from so they can start the pre-bid.  Mr. Fry stated that the water will come from where it is now and it is the responsibility of the developer under their tariff.  Also under their tariff they can cover $15 K for the hydrants and valves.  They can talk about changing the tariff but that is the way we operate with everybody.  To make an exception we have to make an exception to the tariff.

Dr. Arnold then asked about the sewer.  Mr. Sherman stated that will have to go to Front Street and east unless you can get an easement from the church to go through their property.  Mr. Sherman asked what it will cost to get it to the property line.  Mr. Aldrich stated about $200 K to bring it to the property line on Front Street from the manhole on 2nd Street.   Mr. Fry wanted to know how big of a water main are we talking about.  He was informed 8 inch.  Mr. Bump also informed them that they had the option to assess property owners where the new lines cross their property lines.  Mr. Sherman asked what the additional cost would be to run the sewer line to the school.  Mr. Aldrich informed him it would be about another $150 K.

Mr. Sherman then asked besides water and sewer what other infrastructure does the council need to talk about.

Mr. Belden raised the issue of going across the church property and Mr. Aldrich informed him that any development that was to take place there would require the movement of the gas line and the gas company would require reimbursement to move it.  Nothing can be built over the top of it.  Mr. Belden then asked if a street can be built over it.  Mr. Aldrich informed him that it could but the grade cannot be cut at all.  The street has to be built on the grade that is there.  He was also informed that the school had to be shifted to a more southeasterly facing and moved further south to keep it off of the gas main.

The mayor asked Mr. Aldrich if he could have numbers for the next meeting.  He informed her he had the numbers which ones did she want.  Mr. Sherman stated that he wanted to know how are we going to pay for this.  I would like to say we could pay for all of it but it is going to depend how much and how we are going to pay.  Mr. Aldrich stated that it would take $65 K to run the water line 1,000 feet to the property line.  Mr. Fry reiterated that they would pick up the $15 K for the hydrants and valves  on the property.  On the sewer you are looking at $120 K to the property line and another $20  to $30 K to the building.

This ended the high school discussion.  The council will look at the funding issue at the next regular meeting.

Part 2, The Renovation for the Elementary School should be up tomorrow evening.

August 27, 2008

Agenda, Joint Meeting (Updated)

Posted in Agenda at 8:59 am by thevoicesofstuart

City Council, Utility Board and School Board

Here is the agenda for the Thursday night joint meeting.

Agenda, Joint Meeting


As always these are my thoughts on the Agenda and other topics of the City Council.

While I realize that the Council and Boards need to have some latitude for their discussion scheduled for tomorrow night the agenda does not reflect the areas they intend to talk about. “School Infrastructures” is vague and meaningless without some hint of what they wish to talk about.  Infrastructures is a big word that can cover a lot of topics.  Everything from public works to personnel and equipment.

The agenda does not inform the public of the specific actions to be taken nor the matters to be discussed at the meeting.  To quote the Attorney General, “Words in the tentative agenda should be measured by the meaning to a “typical citizen” or member of the media.”

With a joint meeting of three governing bodies the detail of topics needs to be more precise.  If they wish to talk about roads, sewers, water, co-located library, wellness center, traffic, parking and/or 28E Agreements or any other infrastructure need it should be stated in the agenda to allow the “ordinary citizen” the opportunity to decide if they have a need or wish to attend the meeting.

The other concern I have is that with a meeting that includes the School Board has the notice been published enough that the citizens of the whole school district are informed that the meeting is taking place.  I would hazard to guess that the people in Menlo, Dexter and Redfield do not regularly walk by the city hall door to see that a special joint meeting has been set.  The email announcing the agenda was not addressed to any School Board or Utility Board members.  There have been no notices in the papers of the School District that a joint meeting was being called other than a minor mention in the Mid Iowa News as a part of another school story last week.

To quote the Attorney General again, ” Factors in assessing the opportunity for the participation my include whether the topic had been on previous agendas and whether the meeting was widely publicized.”.

While I doubt that any of my concerns will make any difference to the agenda as written without knowing specific topics of the meeting discussion it leaves the door open for the city council to re-visit the library issue it decided at the last council meeting.

The word needs to be passed about the meeting.  Especially to the Menlo, Dexter and Redfield communitites.

As a reminder to the Stuart community:

If the Aquatic Center goes forward from this point there will only be approxiamately $200 K of TIF money left which the council was holding for emergencies.

The council is looking for $600 K to just repair what is wrong with the streets this year that they do not have without bonding against property taxes to pay for.

They still have to come up with approximately $500 K to finish funding the new water treatment plant which they will more than likely have to bond against property taxes to pay for if V&K cannot come up with another grant.  Along with the $500 K zero interest loan that must be repaid to the state that makes up part of the funding.

The city has yet to find and fix the underlying problem that caused the foundations at the school and the Sergant’s building foundations to collapse.

The school is looking for approximately $800 K for their funding shortfall.

All in all I think it is time for the council to reassess the Aquatic Center funding.  That $1.72 M of TIF funding would go a long ways in covering the known city’s infrastructure needs without adding to the tax burden on top of the school bond.

Think about it and call your council members to give them some insight about your thoughts on these issues.  It only takes three of them to change the course of the current plan.  At this point nothing is locked in stone and things can be changed.

If you wait any longer than tomorrow afternoon on the school issues it may be to late.  If you wait any longer than the day before the next regular council meeting on the city issues it will be to late.

August 17, 2008

School Talk (Update)

Posted in City News at 10:33 pm by thevoicesofstuart

By Peggy Schlichter

I received a comment about the Dallas County News Article concerning the WCV/RAMBO troubles.  They asked if I had read the article, which I had not.  They were also not very happy that they had to be shown the article by a family member to even find out about what is going on there.  I will copy the comment into this as the first one.

As you all probably know I do not pay to much attention to the school.  What I know about it is what I hear at the council meetings if it comes up at all.  Or if as in this case someone gives me a heads up about an article.

While I know it is not high on my list I do know that is high on many of yours.

What I know about the school is already in the post I did on the council finally deciding to go ahead with a city library.

Here is the article for you to read yourselves and this will provide a thread for you to discuss it.



Here is the latest school news from the Mid-Iowa News

Apparently the library and a wellness center are back on the agenda along with infrastructure costs in a Special Joint City Council and School Board Meeting at 6:30 pm, August 28th in the City Hall.

New and Old Business

Posted in Council Meetings at 5:53 pm by thevoicesofstuart

By Peggy Schlichter

New Business

Mr. Waddell raised the issue of drainage on Mr. Tiernan’s property across from the pool where he has relocated the house from the north side of town.  Mr. Airhart stated that there was not a drainage problem until he moved the house there.  It is not a city problem.  He is going to have to figure out how to handle it.

Mr. Sherman raised the issue of the drainage pipe outflow in the unestablished alley west of the Beeler property between SE 6th and SE 5th Street.  The ground around the outflow is eroding away back several feet from the end of the pipe and the sediment has settled further down the creek where it turns east in the unestablised SE 5th Street causing the water to sit and turn into a mosqutio factory.  Mr. Sherman asked Mr. Airhart if he was aware of the wash out.  He was not.  Mr. Sherman asked if the city installed that line.  Mr. Airhart stated yes.  Mr. Sherman told him that the ditch is a mess and does not drain.  It needs to be cleaned out and made to allow the water to drain.  Mr. Airhart stated that he would put it on the list.

Mr. O’Keefe raised the issue of drainage on S. Adair.  Mr. Airhart stated that it is a know problem and will be fixed when they do the streets.

Old Business

Mr. Belden raised the issue of the fill dirt and concrete on the Sloss’s empty lot on S. Fremont that has not been leveled.  The city is going to send them a letter.

Mr. Belden raised the issue of the vehicles on the empty lot across from the Casey’s.  Robert stated that the vehicle owners have been notified and have been moved.  He is getting an estimate to have the junk hauled off.  The area is looking better.

The Mayor raised the issue of the ditch on SW 8th Street and the vacant lot that has not been mowed.  The Mayor stated that it needs to be cleaned up.  Mr. Airhart stated that a letter was already sent.  The next step is to clean and mow it and send them the bill.  Robert stated that he would get a copy of the letter and handle it as a infraction.

Mr. Belden brought up the two bad spots on S. Adair and stated that something needed to be done with them until the streets are redone.  Mr. Airhart stated that he would have some rock put in them.

Resolutions, Reports and Police

Posted in Council Meetings at 5:17 pm by thevoicesofstuart

By Peggy Schlichter

Resolutions and Reports

A resolution was made and passed to issue a $4.045 M Corporate Purpose Loan Agreement Anticipation Project Note.  The is the money to cover the Aquatic Center, City Hall, Library, Police Station and Re-finance the Bath House.

The resolution was made and passed subject to a legal review to clarify differences in the wording to allow outdoor service areas for Johnies.  Mr. Bump was not present at the meeting to explain the language and clarify the State requirements.

The resolution to vacate one block of Main Street to WCV was tabled until the school decides on the elementary renovation.

A resolution was made and passed to accept the Road Use Report.

The resolution for the City’s Investment Policy was made and passed to change the code sections necessary to be in compliance with Code.

Police Issues

The council voted to renew the rental on the police station.

A resolution was made and passed to add stop signs at 4 locations.  One at N. Fremont and N. 4th Street east and west, SE 14th, 15th and 16th Street at S. Division.

The DNR will be shooting off noise shots for bird abatement.

The council approved the hire of Martin Miller to fill one of the vacant police officer positions.  Mr. Miller is not certified at this time.  He is attending college and nearing completion of his Criminal Justice degree.  If he completes his degree before the end of his first year he can go to the short course which will save money.  He is scheduled to begin September 1st.  The background check has been done.  He has 6 months to establish residency inside of the city limits.  His starting salary is $30 K a year.

Because of Business complaints of bicycles being left laying in front of their door ways the police have made arrangements to have the school make some bike racks to be located around town to help alleviate the problem.

Mr. Tisl raised the issue of dogs running loose in the neighborhood and asked what the city policy was.  Robert informed him to call the police.  They will try and catch the dog.  If they can determine who it belongs to they will get one warning.  After that a ticket will be issued.  If the owner cannot be identified it will be locked up at the pound.  Robert has issued three tickets for unrestrained dogs so far.

Public Hearing Set For Streets Project

Posted in Council Meetings at 4:25 pm by thevoicesofstuart

By Peggy Schlichter

A motion was made and passed to set September 8th for the public hearing for the Streets Project during the next regular council meeting.

Mr. Aldrich informed the council that even though budget estimates are hard to come up with because of the price fluctuations in oil and the diesel costs for delivery they are looking a approximately $600 K to fix all the streets this year.  As a comparison 2 years ago it was running $45 per ton today it is around $80 to $85 a ton.

The Mayor asked if it was cheaper to go with concrete.  Mr. Aldrich informed her that even though the concrete prices were pretty stable the difference is you have to use 6 to 7 inches of concrete compared to 2 and a half for asphalt which eats up any savings.  You also have to figure in redoing driveway approaches, storm sewers, sewers etc.

Mr. Tisl asked if any of the roads were going to be ground down before the new asphalt is laid.  Mr. Aldrich informed them that in some places it will be removed completely, some places ground down and others it will be laid over the top depending on the area needs.

Mr. Aldrich asked the council if they were comfortable with the estimate.  If they were they could go ahead with bids.  If not they could take out some streets.  As an example, if they wanted to lower the cost by $100 K they would need to take out 7 blocks in round numbers.  Some are seal coat with and without curb and gutter.  Some are asphalt with and without curb and gutter.

Mr. Belden brought up S. Adair Street by Shirley Jones house and the 2 collapsed spots there.  Mr. Airhart informed him that there they are going to have to pulverize it, incorporate flash with it to create the base then asphalt it.  That should alleviate the problem.

While several streets were talked about it was decided that they would delete 7th to 10th on N. Harlan and 4th to 7th on N. Adair from the bids.

Anyone wishing to see the streets that are designated to be fixed there is a new aerial view map of the city in the council chamber with them marked in blue.

Public Hearing Set For Aquatic Center Project

Posted in Council Meetings at 3:53 pm by thevoicesofstuart

Project Update By Mr. Aldrich

By Peggy Schlichter

A motion was made and passed to set September 8th for the Public Hearing on the Aquatic Center Project during the next regular council meeting.

Project Update

Mr. Aldrich presented the council with a copy of the site plan laying out the specifics of the project.  He explained that there will be three slides.  A family, curly q and a drop slide.  If at some point in the future the design allows for the drop slide to be removed and a 10 foot diving stand put in.  The family slide is real wide and allows parents to go down the slide with the smaller children.  The north east corner has some spray features in the cement for the little kids to run around in.  It is a zero entry pool and there will be no more baby pool.

Mr. Belden asked if the project was set up to adjust the design if the bids come in higher than expected.  Mr. Aldrich informed him that the original budget was for $1.72 M and the plan calls for $1.82 M with the committee saying that they would come up with the additional money through grants and donations to cover the increase.

They are taking an alternate bid on the parking lot to put that in as concrete.  They are also taking an alternate bid on a delay in construction by three weeks.  The base bid is for completion by Memorial Day and the alternate is for a deduct for completion three weeks later.  Then the committee and the council can look at the difference and see if the savings is worth the delay.  Mr. Waddell asked how much that amount could be.  Mr. Aldrich informed him it could be anywhere from $0 to $10 to $20K.

Going back to Mr. Belden’s question Mr. Aldrich informed the council that unlike the bath house the pool has several things that can be taken out to adjust the cost.  Like a slide but leave the plumbing for it.  Decrease the water features from the 5 planned to say 2 with the same option of leaving the plumbing or not.  Those are the types of things we can negotiate with the contractor once we have the low bidder.  There is no redesign fee with these changes.

Mr. Waddell asked what the length of the swim lanes were.  Mr. Sherman found the length on the plans to be 25 yards.

Mr. Aldrich left plans for the committee and Utility Board to look at.

More Water Problems

Posted in Council Meetings at 3:17 pm by thevoicesofstuart

By Peggy Schlichter

Messieurs Ken Snell and Mark Tisl addressed the council on water back up problems in their yards on N. E. 2nd and N. Harlan.  Mr. Snell lives on the south side of 2nd and Mr. Tisl lives on the north side of the street.

Mr. Snell informed the council that this in not the first time he had been to see them about the ongoing problem of his back yard continually filling up with water over the years.  He informed them that even though we had the big rain the problem exists even with small amounts of rain.  He provided multiple pictures of the water standing in his back yard over many years.  He explained that he continually checks the drain to make sure that there is no debris clogging it.  It is just a very slow running drain that does not have the capacity to handle the water going through it.  When there is a heavy rain it not only covers his yard but overflows the street.

Mr. Sherman asked if the line needed to be jetted.  Mr. Airhart explained that the line is open.  It is an 18 inch tube coming down under their property with a 6 inch tube going down.  Once the 18 inch line fills up with all the pressure from a heavy rain the water starts going up where ever it can.  That is what is filling his and Marks back yard.  Once the pressure goes down then the yards drain.

Mrs. Snell pointed out that it does not take a heavy rain for the line to back up.  It does the same thing with even mild rains.  She also pointed out that there needs to be work done around the drain because it is washing out.  They have put rock around it to keep their kid or any other kids from the neighborhood from falling in it.  She then asked if they would just come look at it and see if a solution can be found.

Mr. Sherman asked where that line runs to for discharge and was informed that it dumps into the creek across the street east.  He then asked if that tile goes anywhere else before it goes to the ditch.  He was informed that they all come together at Mr. Tisl’s then goes to the creek.

Mr. Tisl then informed the council that this is the worst he has ever seen it and that this is the first time in the 18 years he has lived there that he has had water in his basement.   He also informed them that there are several things that have lead to the increase in the amount of water.  Years ago there was no building where Mr. Ruppert now has one.  It was a low area that was built up for the construction.   The silver star area has been built up and all that water now runs right into the Snell’s backyard.   His backyard besides collecting all the storm water from up 2nd by the post office and everything from the school corner down goes right into his backyard into the front yard then into the Snell’s backyard.  The water was so high that it actually was running out of the Snell’s backyard across the street then down my yard to the other drain.  The water was so high that you could not even see the Snell’s graden that stands 3 feet high.  In order to stop the water on his property he was going to install a berm three feet high to protect his basement.  He then informed the council that all three storm lines collect in one spot under his yard before going under Harlen to the creek.

Mr. Airhart informed the council that he drove by there that morning and the water was shooting out of the discharge at least 8 feet before falling into the creek from all the pressure.

Mr. Tisl then asked the council look at the problem and see if something can be done.  He also informed them that the drain by the greenhouse also ties into the lines under his property.

Mr. Sherman asked if it was possible to divert the water from the line leaving the Snell property and run it across the street to dump into the creek before the line gets to the collection box at the Tisl’s.  Mr. Airhart stated that the better option would be to put a bigger 36 inch line from the collection box at the Tisl’s across the road to the creek.  Going from an 18 to a 36 inch line would double the volumn of out flow.  Mr. Aldrich stated that it would increase the flow 4 times.

The Mayor asked Mr. Aldrich which option did he think would be better.  He informed her that he would be in town next week to go over the street plan with Mr. Airhart and he could look at the problem then and get back to then at the next meeting.

DST Corporation/Parking Area

Posted in Council Meetings at 2:13 pm by thevoicesofstuart

By Peggy Schlichter

DST Corp Manager Craig Moses addressed the council concerning the mud runoff from the alley that continually floods the apartment parking area and clogs the drainage line.  Mr. Moses informed the council that the mud was washing down through the alley from the neighbors west of the apartments.  He provided pictures of the conditions after it rains showing the parking covered with mud and debris. He also informed the council that this problem was not related to the previous problem of inadequate drainage that kept water standing in the parking.  He informed them that problem had been solved by installing a drainage line and connecting it to an existing line out to the street last fall.

Mr. Sherman while acknowledging the problem pointed out that the building was built in a low area and these types of problems should have been taken care of in the design.

Mr. Moses countered that the problem was a direct result of the grading of the alley which is city responsibility.  He then asked if the alley could be asphalted.  Mr. Sherman stated that alleys had been asphalted in the past and asked Mr. Airhart what the procedure was.

Mr. Airhart informed them that the property owners must pay half of the cost and the monies must be paid before the alley will be asphalted.  Mr. Sherman asked which properties had to pay.  Mr. Airhart replied that all adjoining alley properties should pay.  The question of what if all the properties did not want to pay for the asphalting arose.  Mr. Airhart responded that the ones who wanted it asphalted could get together and go ahead and pay for it or they could leave it as it is.  No matter how many wanted it or not was not the question.  As long as half of the cost was paid up front it would be asphalted.

Mr. Waddell asked if the properties on the west used that alley.  Most do not but Mr. Moses pointed out that the mud was coming from those west properties.

Mr. Sherman then asked what will keep the water from standing on the west side of the alley if they pave that.  Mr. Airhart responded that some type of transition would have to be made to allow the flow down the alley.

Mr. Ashour stated that they could get an estimate of the cost and Mr. Airhart told him not to put that on me.  Have Mr. Moses call Grimes Asphalt to come out and give you the estimates.  I do not want to get in the business of getting estimates for everybody.  I did that once before and got in trouble.  I will give you the name and number on who to contact.  Mr. Ashour asked Mr. Moses to get back to them after that was done.

Mr. Aldrich informed the council that since they were going out for bid on the other street projects they should wait to see who got that contract before going further.  If the contractor is other than Grimes Asphalt and are in town doing the other streets they may get a better price for the alley.

Mr. Sherman asked Mr. Moses to go ahead and get the estimate from Grimes and when the contract is let for the streets they would see if they could incorporate the alley into the contract.  At least you will know a ballpark figure on what the cost will be then you can approach your neighbors to see if they are willing to help split the cost.

August 15, 2008

Council Finally Approves Going Forward With New City Building

Posted in Council Meetings at 10:15 am by thevoicesofstuart

or The High Point Of The Meeting:  The Council Finally Decides To Build a New City Hall, Library and Police Station In One Building.

By Peggy Schlichter

Mr. Crawford opened the discussion of City/School Library Dual Use by presenting the council with a recap of a meeting with the Library Board to review eight 29E Agreements used by other dual use libraries around the state.  He reported that a 28 E Agreement was doable if they went forward with the dual use option.

He then informed the council that during the Tuesday night School Board Meeting they were preoccupied with signing their contract and getting things going with their architect.  The mayor pointed out that she had heard that the contract was dead one day and they were working on getting an agreement together the next.  Tony informed the council that they would know better on Monday night at their next regular School Board Meeting.  They were to have new drawings and hopefully a contract agreed upon with Rambo by then.

Mr. Belden informed the council that they had asked on Tuesday night if a decision could be made on going forward with the dual uses option.  The school was not ready to address the issue because of all the contract issues they faced.  Nor do they have any actual dollar figures to work with to determine what the city’s actual construction costs would be under the dual use option.

Mr. Crawford stated that the School Board was focused on getting their construction costs with in the $16.95 M bond limit.  Whether that means they want to bear the whole cost of the infrastructure needs or not is still undetermined.  They do not want to bank of the city being part of the plans and then not having enough money to complete the construction.

Mr. Belden pointed out that there were more discussion at that meeting on what the city could or could not do for those infrastructure costs than about the dual use option.  He further informed the council that a previous email had been sent asking the superintendent if they were willing to go forward with the dual use option or not and that another email was sent wednesday with no response on either email.

The Mayor then asked if they were ready to move forward with one building or do they want to wait for the school.  Mrs. Avey asked what kind of delay were they talking about if they do dual use.  Mr. Belden replied that there were a multitude of things that could happen.  If the high school goes out for bid and it comes in over budget they will have to downsize the amount of renovation on the elementary school.  The elementary school could end up not crossing the street.  Tony then pointed out that they are okay with the high school.  It is the elementary school that is up in the air.  They do want to persue the dual use library but the biggest concern they have right now is the bond limit on the money they have to complete the project.  Rambo presented the dual use plans with a cost of $18.5 M.  Their question back to Rambo was how do we do this when we only have $16.9 M.  Rambo’s responce was that the city had to pay the difference for infrastructure costs and the additional library costs.  The School Board response was that no you have to build what we have money for.  The school has to have a price and the city has to have a price for the construction not all together.  With out that there is to big of a chance for conflict on who is responsible for what costs.  That has been the biggest issue they have with RAMBO on this.  So now tring to reduce the cost for this we are looking at changing the elementary and even possibly not going across the street.  There is a meeting on Monday to go over alot of these issues before the board meeting.

Mr. Crawford stated that he had a problem with any changes made to the layout of the elementary school which will affect the placement of the library and further delays where we are at in moving forward.

The Mayor asks again if anyone really objects to going forward with our own building.

Mr. Belden stated that everyone would win with a dual use library.  There would be more space, more computers but the problem is that they are not locked down on the money.  There will continue to be delays and money issues.  The lack of response to the correspondence is telling and he is not sure that the superindendent is in favor of this.  Tony countered with he did not think that was the case.  The superintendent was trying to point out to RAMBO that it is not a part of the school needs and you cannot keep running things up on the price.  He doesn’t think he really opposes it but he is trying to prove a point to RAMBO.

Mr. Belden pointed out that they have money barrowed and further delays may affect the interest costs even though the investment of the money is covering it now it may not in the future.   At the end of the day there will still be significant delays.

The Mayor asks again if someone would make a motion to go forward with a single city building.

Mr. Crawford stated that there were really three options here.  Stay with the dual use option even with the delays, go forward with the single city building or give the school until monday to respond to the committment.  They could say in their motion that based on what the school’s answer is they could go from there.  The dual use issue is on the agenda for the next School Board Meeting so it is not like they are not willing to discuss it.  It is just because of all this other stuff going on that the discussion has been delayed.

Mr. Waddell pointed out that other than financial gain the school has no real incentive to go with this option.  They already have a library.  Mr. Belden pointed out that there are some significant gains for the school as far as more assets available to them.  Mr. Waddell pointed out that the costs to us are time even though the benefits are there.  Mr. Belden pointed out that there is no cost per square foot benefit at all.  The difference is that they would be able to offer the residents and students 7 K square feet instead of 4 K square feet.

Mr. Waddell then pointed out that the overall reaction he has received about the dual use option is all negative.  The Mayor stated that was no necessarily true.  Mr. Waddell countered with it may just be because people do not see the benefits but the reaction he saw was negative.

Mr. O’Keefe stated that the problem he has with this whole thing is that what says they are not going to delay more.  We do not come back until next month and that delays us more.  We need the new city hall, library and police station.  I say we move forward now and not wait for more delays.

Mr. Crawford then pressed again for support for a motion that would make the council actions dependent on the schools response to their emails.

Mr. Sherman then stated that it seems to him that this issue was making their project more complicatied for them because if they need to redesign their building and do not want to go across the road then they are back to what about this dual use library and how are we going to fit that in there.  Maybe it is just easier to not make the school have more of a headache over this.

Tony then stated that even without the dual use issue they are still up in the air about what is going to happen at the next School Board meeting.  They are hoping that agreements are made before then and a contract can be signed.  The Mayor asked if that was for sure and his response was he did not know.

Mr. Crawford stated that we needed more than just a contract signed with RAMBO.  We needed a firm committment that they are building the school across the road and that the library will be in that location.

Mr. Waddell then pointed out that even with a committment on Monday that does not mean that when the bids come in they are within budget.  Then we are back out in the cold.

Mr. Crawford agreed that they are much further behind on this than we need them to be.  I am still willing to let them discuss it one more time.

Mr. Sherman stated that we are just making this more complex for both of us than it needs to be.  On papaer it sounds like a good idea but this is just more complex than it needs to be.

Mr. Belden then made a motion to move forward with a single city building for a city hall, library and police station.  The motion was passed unanamously.

Mr. Aldrich then addressed the council to clarify that at the next meeting they would like to have a contract for engineering and architechtural services for the design and construction of the city building.  He was told yes.  He then informed the council that before he could start to do anything he needed to know whether the water storage tank can be removed or not because the building footprint changes drastically if it cannot be removed.  The Mayor stated that she still had to get with John Gulbranson about the issue.  Mr. Aldrich stated that he was sure that the Utility Board must be included in the discussion on the tank removal.  Mr. Ashour stated that he would bring it up to them.

This ended the discussion.

August 13, 2008

Agenda, August City Council Meeting

Posted in Agenda at 5:52 pm by thevoicesofstuart

Here is the Agenda for the Thursday night meeting.


FEMA Approves Individual Assistance For Adair/Guthrie Counties

Posted in City News at 5:39 pm by thevoicesofstuart

By Peggy Schlichter

For those of you who pre-registered for Individual Assistance you will be receiving a phone call to set up a visit by a FEMA Representative in the near future.  Some have already been notified and visits set up.

For those of you who wish to register you should do so now.

For those of you who do not want to deal with FEMA you should check out the following information.

IRS Publication 2194 is the Disaster Losses Kit For Individuals.  It includes the information, forms and instructions to complete the documents necessary to claim uncovered losses.

August 12, 2008

This Is “Not” What Was Killing My Baby Garter Snakes

Posted in General at 9:10 am by thevoicesofstuart

By Peggy Schlichter

This is for the person who was sure that a chupucabra was killing my baby garter snakes.  I am sure that I have not seen any around here.  They still have not identified what it is exactly but it looks like a dead one that was found a while back in Texas.  That one was identified genetically as related to the coyote family.  It sure is a different looking animal what ever it is.

Watch the video.

August 8, 2008

KCCI Weatherman Having Fun At The State Fair

Posted in General at 9:19 pm by thevoicesofstuart

KCCI Weatherman Kurtis Gertz gets a surprise at the State Fair today.  So much of a surprise that the video is on CNN tonight.  If you missed it on the news here is the link.

Where is that snake going?

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