Lansing City Council approves payments for ongoing projects

by Julie Berg-Raymond

During its regular meeting Monday, January 17, the Lansing City Council approved, or made official with signed paperwork, either payments or cost estimates for three ongoing projects.

A Professional Services Agreement with WHKS of Rochester, MN for Center Street water and sanitary sewer replacement was signed by Mayor Melissa Hammell. The City is being billed hourly for the company’s engineering services involved in the project with an estimated fee of $18,200. The project will involve one block from just west of South 4th Street east to just beyond South 3rd Street to replace water main and sanitary sewer lines and then reconstruct the street subbase.

The council approved payment of $12,000 to Damon Olson of Damon Construction, New Albin for repair and renovation of the Lansing swimming pool guard house. Work for this portion of the project included sandblasting existing block walls; demolishing existing shower and toilet partitions; grinding mortar joints; re-tucking mortar joints; and replacing block as needed.

Jesse Whittle of Harpers Ferry has offered for purchase a used towable boom, at a cost of $15,000, “as is.” The council had already budgeted for a boom lift, but an earlier effort to purchase a similar piece of equipment fell through. No action was taken on the matter.

The council approved payment of $2,500 to Erdman Engineering, PC of Decorah for services rendered during the production of a Preliminary Engineering Report for Main Street Improvements.

People’s Service Representative Duane Estebo offered his December report, which included the following: “While snow was being plowed in late December, a valve cover was knocked loose and pushed down the street. A resident found it and turned it in to City Hall, and it was put back where it belonged. Estebo explained the situation, saying “the ring of the valve box sits up a bit above the street level. This allows the plow to catch it. The ring is cracked now in a couple of spots so now it can flex some allowing the lid to pop out. We do have a few like this around town. There are a couple of remedies for this. I am looking into a tool that allows you to cut off and replace part of the valve box without digging up the street.”

In early December, sludge was pumped out of the sludge holding tank at the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). “We had tried a couple weeks prior to this but the hydraulic pump blew seals and didn’t work,” Estebo noted in his report. “We tried two smaller trash pumps, but they weren’t big enough to push it up to the tanker.”

Finally, after new seals were installed, they were able to pump. “This pump worked, but not very well,” Estebo continued. “To fill the tankers, it should take about 10 minutes, but it took from 30-40 minutes. Obviously, the small hydraulic pump is not operating efficiently. The haulers are backed up and waiting and costing the City extra money.”

December 15, after having prepared for the upcoming storm, the department was called at 7 p.m. because of a power failure. “It wasn’t out long, but the storm had not hit yet,” Estebo reported. “We set up the portable generators at the lift stations and ran them to be ready. We ended up being in town about three-and-a-half hours that evening.”

In other business, the appointment of Steve Darling as fire chief was approved; and a 28E agreement was adopted for funding services between Northeast Iowa Community Action Corporation (NEICAC) and the City of Lansing, Iowa. According to the Iowa League of Cities, a 28E agreement allows cities to contract with other government units to provide services, share equipment and jointly operate facilities.

The agreement indicates that “the goal of this joint action between the City and Agency shall be to serve low-income individuals and families through programs and services including early childhood programs, family support services, food pantry distribution, stable and affordable housing, budget counseling, public transportation, pregnancy prevention and health education, low-income home energy assistance, weatherization and crisis/financial assistance.”

Funding provided by the City of Lansing in the amount of $968 per year will, according to the agreement, be used for “a portion of family services outreach staffing, administrative and indirect costs in City/County. Services include providing crisis assistance to address critical needs such as preventing utility shut-offs and housing evictions.”

The agreement continues automatically for one year, unless the terms are modified in writing by the joint action of the parties or by written notice of termination provided by one party to the other 30 days prior to the expiration of any one-year term.

Among the last orders of business, the council agreed to ask the Parks Board to conduct further research into the trimming of trees around the swimming pool.