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Water tower control systems set for upgrade

Upgrades to the computer systems that control the flow of water in Jamestown were approved by the Public Works Committee Monday. The Public Works, Police and Fire, Civic Center and Promotion, Building Planning and Zoning and Finance and Legal committees met Monday rather than the regular Tuesday and Thursday schedules to accommodate the members’ schedules.

“We’re having additional problems again,” said Steve Suko, operations manager for Jamestown utilities. “A failure caused an overflow of the ‘squat tank’ above the old hospital site.”

The squat tank refers to the low water tower tank built just to the north of the old hospital building.

Costs for upgrades to the telemetry system are estimated at between $20,000 and $25,000, according to City Engineer Reed Schwartzkopf. The telemetry system uses radio signals to report the status of pumps and the water levels in city towers and tanks to control systems at the city water plant. Portions of the current system date to the early 1990s with some updates in 2006.

“When we lose the ability to communicate with the equipment we have to send out operators to do these things,” Schwartzkopf said. “That is how we are controlling the squat tank now.”

In other business, the Finance and Legal Committee approved sending a letter to the U.S. Department of Transportation supporting SkyWest in its bid for the Essential Air Service contract for Jamestown.

SkyWest is offering one round-trip flight per day to Denver on a 50-passenger jet aircraft. Great Lakes Aviation is bidding for the same contract, offering two round-trip flights to Minneapolis each day on smaller aircraft.

Mayor Katie Andersen said the reliability of Great Lakes has been an issue in its past two years of service. She said the single flight offered by SkyWest to the Denver hub was not ideal but preferable to Great Lakes.

Councilman Dan Buchanan asked if the public was in favor of connecting to Denver rather than Minneapolis.

The Jamestown Regional Airport Authority will make its recommendation to the DOT during its meeting on Dec. 18. In the meantime, the Finance and Legal Committee passed a motion to authorize a letter of support for SkyWest now on a 4-1 vote with Buchanan dissenting.

In other business:

*Neil Barkus was appointed to a four-year term on the Jamestown Board of Adjustments while Scott Roemmich and Rod Johnson were reappointed to the Fire Code Board of Appeals.

*The Public Works Committee approved an approximately $14,700 contract with ServiceMaster to remove bird and rodent droppings from a city building used for cold storage.

Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at 701-952-8452 or by email at