Line delay: Council delays application for water line for hospitalThe City Council voted 3-2 Monday against submission of an application to the state to bore a water line under Interstate 94 and requested the Planning Commission review the infrastructure plans for the new medical center. Jamestown Hospital is building a new facility on the south side of I-94. Building construction has begun on the green site and presently there is no city infrastructure to it. Interstate Engineering is designing water and sewer lines.
The City Council voted 3-2 Monday against submission of an application to the state to bore a water line under Interstate 94 and requested the Planning Commission review the infrastructure plans for the new medical center.
Jamestown Hospital is building a new facility on the south side of I-94. Building construction has begun on the green site and presently there is no city infrastructure to it. Interstate Engineering is designing water and sewer lines.
The planned water line is looped from a city water main near R.M. Stoudt’s west to the new hospital site, then back under I-94 to connect with a city water line on the north side of the highway. The application to the North Dakota Department of Transportation is for an easement to bore under the highway.
Mayor Clarice Liechty pulled the resolution off the consent agenda, saying the city did not have enough information on the hospital’s plan to submit the application. Her motion to table the submission failed for lack of a second.
Liechty said Interstate Engineering’s plan for the looping water line should be reviewed by the city’s Planning Commission. A second city water line going under I-94 might not be needed, she said.
“Is it in the city’s best interest to have a second water line?” she asked.
Interstate Engineer Steve Aldinger said he’s been meeting with the city engineer on the design of the water line. He said the hospital could have planned a water line from Stoudt’s to the site without the loop.
“Looping the water line was the city’s requirement,” Aldinger said. “The hospital doesn’t need it looped. It’s what the city wanted.”
The mayor also questioned the size of the pipe. She wondered if that was the size the city needed for future development of the area.
“The hospital is putting the line in at the size they need,” Aldinger said. He added that if the city wants a larger size, it will need to pay for it.
Councilman Ken Schulz said it might be a good idea for the Planning Commission to check out the plan and perhaps make some recommendations about what the city needed for development there.
“I’d like to see a good long-range plan on that area,” he said.
He, Councilwoman Kelani Parisien and Liechty voted against the resolution to submit the application.
After the meeting, Schulz said he wants the Planning Commission to go further than just reviewing water and sewer plans. He said he’d like to see some platting of the area along with the layout of possible water and sewer lines in a plan for future development.
“I don’t want to delay the project, but I don’t just want to think about what’s best for the hospital. I want to think of what’s best for the area,” Schulz said. “It’s helpful to have the Planning Commission’s input.”
The council had its first reading of the ordinance to split the 1 percent sales tax between the Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp. and the city. It also extends the tax to June 30, 2022.
“One half of the 1 percent city sales tax shall be dedicated to payment of the city’s share of special assessments on city public works projects as they shall be created from time to time,” the ordinance reads.
However, the wording on use of the other half of the sales tax didn’t change from the original wording of the ordinance. It continues to say “for jobs development and infrastructure improvements for economic and jobs development.”
“I don’t believe the write-up on this is the same as what we wanted,” Schulz said.
Parisien agreed. She said when the council voted to take half of the 1 percent for the city, it included infrastructure for economic development as the city’s responsibility. At this point, the city has taken responsibility for the $280,000 going to pay off the bond on the wastewater treatment plant, which was being paid out of economic development funds.
Parisien suggested eliminating the phrase “and infrastructure improvements ….”
City Administrator Jeff Fuchs said the council needed to be careful in its phrasing.
“We don’t want too restrictive language for the ordinance either,” he said.
Schulz agreed the council did not want to tie the hands of the JSDC.
“But we don’t want them to get stuck paying for economic development infrastructure either,” he said.
He added with a new council coming on board in July the council needed to be clear about what is the city’s responsibility and what is the JSDC’s.
A number of people in the audience had hoped to speak regarding the 1 percent sales tax. However, the mayor did not ask for public comment. They were told after the meeting they could speak on the issue at the council’s Finance and Legal Committee meeting on March 23.
Sun reporter Toni Pirkl can be reached at (701) 952-8453 or by e-mail at email@example.com