April showers bring ‘Green’ extension
April showers bring ‘Green’ extension
By Mike Van Sickle
The Green Pilot Streetscape general contractor was granted an extension Monday for substantial completion of the downtown project.
At the request of Gene Blazek of Blazek Corporation, the West Union City Council extended the substantial completion date to Thursday, June 6.
Blazek explained to the council during its regular meeting on Monday that due to the inclement weather in April, approximately three weeks of the construction season this spring had been lost.
The general contractor said the goal is for the entire downtown to be open to traffic by Memorial Day weekend. He acknowledged that a couple more weather-related delays, together with the Memorial Day weekend, would take construction into the first week of June.
Councilman Kennon Gumm expressed his concern in granting another extension to the contractor. He noted that the council in August 2012 granted an extension of the substantial completion date to May 10, 2013.
Gumm questioned why the general contractor had not worked additional weekends.
Blazek explained he typically leaves the decision to working weekends to his foreman.
“It’s been a tough job,” Blazek admitted. “We’ve tried our best to accommodate everyone that we could.”
“I will give you that,” Gumm agreed.
Also agreeing, City Councilman Michael Lauer noted that he could not remember a day that he had to close the doors of his downtown business (Lauer & Lauer Insurance) due to the construction.
“You (Blazek) probably could have closed the whole (Vine) street down and been done by now,” he added, to which Blazek agreed.
Prior to the council unanimously agreeing to provide the extension, Blazek reported that all dirt had been hauled away from the downtown construction site, and rain showers should only affect periods when the crews are pouring concrete.
The deadline for the project to be entirely completed remains July 1, 2013.
Later, the council approved a $21,890 contract with Alliant Energy to provide electrical service to the geothermal pump house located at Lions Park in West Union. The contract also includes a permanent $45 per month fee for three-phase electrical service.
The contract was unanimously approved after City Administrator Bob Vagts acknowledged that the council could further discuss the fee(s) and how they would relate to the future lease of the City’s geothermal infrastructure.
In addition, the council approved increasing parking violation fines to $25. Fines not paid within 72 hours would increase by $10, and those not paid within 30 days would increase to $70.
Likewise, those who disobey a snow emergency order and park on the streets will now face a $50 fine. Fines not paid within 72 hours would increase by $10, and those not paid within 30 days would increase to $120.
At the same time, the fine for improper use of a persons with disabilities parking permit was increased to $100. Fines not paid within 72 hours would be filed in District Court.
Each of the fines was previously $10, which West Union Police Sgt. Brent Parker noted was substantially less than those of other communities. Other police officers in attendance noted that the majority of parking violations were issued to repeat offenders, who basically ignored the previous $10 fines.
In other business, the City Council:
• Approved the purchase of a sewer jet from Trans Iowa Equipment at a cost of $59,500.
• Approved using approximately $10,215 of invested cemetery land purchase funds for cemetery improvements.
• Approved annual appropriation TIF payment to Gundersen Lutheran Clinic-West Union in the amount of approximately $9,220.
• Agree to contact CenturyLink, Alliant Energy, and Mediacom officials in regard to dilapidated utility poles located throughout the community.
• Agreed to continue discussions in regard to proposed Black Hills/Alliant Energy franchise fee revenue statements, including the potential for revenue to be used toward sidewalk repairs in the community.
• Approved a pair of invoices totaling approximately $8,380 from Upper Explorerland for WIRB and CDBG administration.
• Approved debt service payments of approximately $191,795 for general-obligation bonds and $13,300 for a fire truck; and $68,525 for water revenue bond from water fund.
• Scheduled a budget amendment hearing for Monday, May 20. There will be no increase in tax levies during the current fiscal year due to the proposed amendment. Any increase in expenditures will be met from the increased non-property tax revenues and cash balances not budgeted or considered in the current budget.
(Editor’s note: Councilman Roy Guenther was not in attendance due to health.)