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W’bago seeks funds for $6.6 million project

By Staff | Dec 27, 2015

The plans are still on the table for Winnebago’s northwest portion of town.

The City Council, along with the help of city engineer Travis Winter, have been working on plans since January to update and replace infrastructure and make utility improvements in the northern portion of town.

The city has held hearings and done feasibility studies to continue updating the public on the progress of plans on the project which was originally proposed to cost a potential $6.6 million.

However, because of that price tag and concerns on cost from some of the citizens, the city has been hard at work.

“What is the status on the northwest sewer/street project?” Paul Loomis, of Winnebago, inquired at the most recent council meeting.

“We are working on finding more funding,” city administrator Chris Ziegler.

Ziegler explained representatives from the Minnesota Department of Health, Pollution Control Agency and others, had visited to tour the project area.

“They were very excited about it,” Ziegler said. “Representative Bob Gunther and Senator Julie Rosen were here as well and they were supportive of the project, too.”

Ziegler explained that since the city will be applying for bonding on the project they do not know solid numbers yet.

“We don’t have any firm numbers on what it will cost the citizens yet,”?he said. “We are still in the estimation phase.”

The council had other numbers to crunch at their recent council meeting after a recommendation was made by the utility committee to purchase a used vacuum truck.

“The utility committee met on Dec. 2 and recommend approval of the proposal from Mac Queen Equipment, Inc., in the amount of $56,070 for the purchase of a used vacuum truck,”?Ziegler said.

The committee felt that the purchase of this used truck would allow the public works department to save money on work they would normally have to bid out because they do not have a truck of their own.

Some of these tasks would include improve ments on storm sewers, lift stations and waste water treatment plant operations.

“We would save $5,000 a year by doing some of these tasks on our own,”?Ziegler explained.

However, not everyone on the council felt the savings would be worth the investment.

“That is a lot of money to spend to save $5,000 a year,”?council member Jean Anderson said.

Council member Dean Johnson agreed, saying there would be a lot of factors contributing to how much money they would actually save by not contracting the work out.

“I’m not for it at all at this point,”?he said. “It would be 13-14 years to break even.”

Councilman Rick Johnson agreed and added that they do not know what the maintenence on a used truck would cost.

“We have no clue what the yearly maintenence,”?he said.

The council ultimately voted against the purchase of the used vacuum truck.