City debates how to pay for sewer system changesPaying for an estimated $8 million in sanitary sewer improvements slated to begin construction later this year may take a variety of sources, according to discussions held at the Jamestown Public Works Committee meeting Thursday.
By: By Keith Norman, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
Paying for an estimated $8 million in sanitary sewer improvements slated to begin construction later this year may take a variety of sources, according to discussions held at the Jamestown Public Works Committee meeting Thursday.
The project will upgrade a number of lift stations and provide a special main to carry sewage from the center of Jamestown to the primary lift station, where it all will be pumped to the sewage treatment plant southeast of Jamestown. The upgrade became necessary when water infiltration into the sewer lines during the 2009 and 2010 floods overwhelmed the lift stations and required waste to be pumped directly into the river in Jamestown.
Options included using special assessments on the properties served by the lift stations, city-wide special assessments, increased sewer rates and the 0.5 percent sales tax that had been dedicated to Jamestown/ Stutsman Development Corp. but was repurposed to paying a part of special assessments throughout the city.
Mayor Katie Andersen said the project benefits the entire city.
“No specials,” she said. “Use all of the 0.5 percent sales tax with the balance covered with utility fee increases.”
Councilman Ramone Gumke agreed.
“However we do it, it has to use the 0.5 percent sales tax,” he said.
Councilman Dan Buchanan questioned using the entire city portion of the sales tax revenue for this project.
“I think we’re asking for problems if there are other infrastructure needs,” Buchanan said. “We need to think it through and have the experts crunch the numbers,”
The City Council took no action on the issue but did ask Jeff Fuchs, city administrator, to prepare financing estimates using the sales tax revenue to pay for the project.
In other business, the City Council postponed action on a request from Jamestown Regional Medical Center to seek reduced speed limits on Interstate 94 east and west of the exit serving the hospital.
“We’d like the city to assist with the (North Dakota) Department of Transportation on this request,” said Todd Hudspeth, administrator of JRMC. “We’ve had several close calls with elderly people and employees at the off ramp.”
The current posted speed limit for the area is 75 mph.
Gumke said a reduction in speeds would be warranted.
“I’m interested in participating in this request because of increased traffic,” he said. “A speed limit of 60 mph rather than the current 75 mph.”
Hudspeth said the NDDOT refused JRMC’s requests to lower the speed limit. The response indicated that the traffic levels did not warrant lower speeds and that local traffic should use frontage roads rather than I-94.
The Public Works Committee tabled the request pending the completion of the Land Use and Transportation study that will begin this summer.
The committee also delayed all paving and seal coat projects currently planned for 2013. Many of the street projects involved the same streets that are part of the sanitary sewer project planned for this summer.
“With everything going on this summer this seems prudent,” said Reed Schwartzkopf, city engineer.
The committee also awarded bids for two buildings to Schumacher Construction. A maintenance building for the Sanitation Department had a bid of $97,000 and a building for storing sand and salt for the Street Department came in with a bid of $96,000.
Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at 701-952-8452 or by email at email@example.com