from City Hall
The City Council has been grappling for some time now with a building problem that affects virtually every department of the City. The problems have to do with the amount of storage space available, location of the space and uses of that space. Allow me to explain.
The current Public Works building (PWC Building) houses the office, shop and warm storage of the various pieces of equipment used by PWC that need to be kept warm for wintertime work as well as parts, pieces and materials used in each of the departments. Its entrance opens up to the parking lot of the Post Office that has been gracious enough over the years to allow us to use that lot to enter and exit the building. That arrangement is wearing thin and needs to be changed. The cold storage for PWC is the green building located on Second South Street and is too small to fit most of the equipment that the City has.
Besides the PWC space problem, the Fire department has run out of room at its present location and actually has 2 trucks stored in the unheated Green Building as well. These 2 trucks belong to the Rural Fire District who pays the City rent to house those trucks and keep them from freezing. The storage place where they are currently housed (the Green Building) is not heated.
As I stated earlier, the Council has been working on this problem for over a year, looking at grants, building swaps, reconstruction and new construction. Obviously, the biggest hurdle is how to pay for it. The Council has come up with a solution to solve the problems and pay for it too.
The solution starts with the sale and removal of the Green Building on 1st South Street and replacing it with 2 new buildings. The first is a 60x60 building that would have a concrete floor, be insulated and heated and house the office, shop and warm storage for the PWC department. The second building on the site would be a 42x60 building with a gravel floor, uninsulated and not heated for cold storage of equipment, materials and sanding gravel. Both of these buildings would be built with a combination of the City labor force and portions of the work contracted out to local contractors.
The current PWC building would see an overhead door installed on the Broadway Street side and the 2 fire trucks from the Green Building would be located there so the entire building would then be used exclusively by the Fire Department. This would greatly improve the space situation of the Department and have all of the equipment full of water and ready to respond.
The total cost of these two projects is projected to be $206,357. Since there is no grant funding available, we are challenged to fund this project locally using our own reserve funding and a contribution to the effort from the Rural Fire District. We will be borrowing money from our own Reserve Funds and then repaying them back to the Reserve fund over the course of 10 years from our regular budget amounts; a proportional share from each of the various departments within the City. In essence, we are borrowing from ourselves to make this happen and repaying ourselves with money already budgeted. Incidentally, the money in the reserve accounts of the water and sewer departments will remain untouched as this money is earmarked for repair and upgrade work in each of the respective departments. It will also leave about $45,000 in our reserves for any unexpected emergencies with that fund being replenished at a rate of about $20,000 per year.
The Council is ready to vote on this issue but decided to hold a public information session at a special meeting of the Council on November 28th at 7 PM in the Council chambers to answer questions and receive comments before a vote is taken. Please feel free to attend the meeting or contact the Mayor or any of the Councilors if you have questions.
The Mayor and Council would like to express our thanks to Clark and Eleanor Hinkleman, Rod and June Behler and Ron and Debbie Schnider and Melissa Sonnen for the effort and expense they have put in to the repair and replacement of the sidewalks adjacent to their property. The new sidewalks meet the new specs for width and grade and meet the ADA requirements. These improvements not only improve the safety of the pedestrians using them but also speak volumes about community spirit and pride.
Denis B. Duman, Mayor