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W’bago sewer project coming

By Staff | May 15, 2011

Scott Robertson

The Winnebago City Council voted Tuesday night to move forward on the Main Street Sanitary Sewer Project.

The total cost of the project will be nearly half a million dollars.

There are 28 connections that will be impacted by the new project, 24 of them businesses.

Work will originate from multiple manhole locations within a two block area of Main Street.

The first manhole is located on First Ave. S. where workers will replace the sanitary water main.

Near the second manhole, work will repair segments of sanitary sewer on First Ave. N.

The project will attempt to keep businesses viable for many years to come encouraging an economic revitalization of Main Street.

With the high price tag involved, Councilman Scott Robertson opposed the new project.

“I struggle to vote this in.” Robertson says. “I am a Main Street person and I want the best for it.”

Robertson also pointed out that only two bids had been made on the project, limiting the number of options available.

GM Contracting Inc. was awarded the bid with a total construction cost of $482,775.55.

Additional engineering costs will be around $25,000-$30,000.

By moving forward with the project, the council weighed a list of pros and cons for doing the project within the year.

Highlighting the list of pros includes the city being able to get a lower interest rate of 2 percent. This will save the city a total of $170,000.

A bond fee savings of $10,000 and the assumption of rising construction prices in the future also weighed into the council’s decision.

Assessments were expected to total $6,000 for businesses and $1,000 for homeowners which can be paid over 20 years, according to a council member’s estimate during the meeting.

Construction on the sewer project will begin this summer and is expected to be completed by September.

In other business the council:

•Voted to have a joint work session with the Blue Earth City Council on June 8 at 7 p.m.

The session will explore the possibility of contracting Winnebago police coverage to Blue Earth.

“Based upon the preliminary work that I’ve done the numbers do make sense to pursue this.” Winnebago City Administrator Austin Bleess says.

Bleess is currently working on a budget regarding the feasibility of extending the police department’s coverage.

“I have confidence in (police chief) Bob Toland,” Councilman Robertson says. “It will be a good thing for our cities to work together.”

The location of the joint session is pending.

With the resignation of police officer Tim Dirkes, the council approved the internal hire of Mike Beletti. Beletti will now serve as a full time officer.

• Hired Carol Ward to serve the ambulance department as an EMT.

• Members of the council accepted the retirement of firefighter Jerome Behnke after 31 years of service.

•Hired 17 lifeguards in preparation for the pool opening June 3.