Esky council wants road repair info

ESCANABA — The Escanaba City Council requested information about the city’s budget and cost of road repairs following Thursday’s discussion on a proposed millage being considered to maintain roads and underground utilities.

Council sought input from the public during Thursday’s regular council meeting that included discussion on a possible millage request specifically to fix roads and utility problems which arise in the repair process.

Due to the condition of city streets, available budget funds, and limited manpower to maintain roads, council is seeking the millage to catch up on necessary repairs. No millage amount or time span has been determined.

Only one member of the public, Tom Woodaz of Escanaba, offered comment on the millage during Thursday’s council meeting, stating he supports a road millage with a fixed term.

“We can’t afford not to do this,” Woodaz told council.

Mayor Marc Tall, who initiated council’s consideration for a road millage last month, said Thursday the city’s streets are deteriorating too fast and “the time to start is now.”

Council member Peggy Schumann requested information be gathered on the public works department’s’ current fund balance, where that fund balance should be, what road funds are anticipated from outside sources, and projected costs for road and utility repairs.

City Manager Patrick Jordan was instructed by council to obtain these numbers for council to determine what amount of road/utility millage should be sought and for how many years.

Jordan noted a 1.5 mill proposal would generate approximately $450,000 a year in taxes.

In other action Thursday, council approved a study be conducted on “inflow and intrusion” sources which may have contributed to the city being forced to discharge partially-treated wastewater into Little Bay de Noc in 2017. Due to rain causing high water levels city-wide last June, wastewater that was partially treated with chemicals was allowed to flow into the bay.

Council unanimously agreed to hire C2AE of Escanaba to conduct the study and oversee flow monitoring at a cost not to exceed $95,000, as recommended by Water/Wastewater Superintendent Jeff Lampi.

Council unanimously approved hiring Energis High Voltage Resources of Green Bay, Wis., at a cost not to exceed $40,000 as budgeted to test and restart the North Shore Substation. The facility was recently moved to a permanent cement foundation after being built on railroad ties during a power outage emergency in 2015.

Council unanimously agreed to hire Bugle Contracting of Cornell to provide tree-trimming services for the city at a cost not to exceed $25,000, as recommended by Electric Superintendent Mike Furmanski. These funds are included in the 2017-2018 budget.

Council unanimously agreed to purchase a power pole digger/derrick from Utility Sales and Service of Appleton, Wis., for the electric department at a cost not to exceed $250,000 as allocated in the current fiscal year budget.

Discussion took place Thursday to clarify the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) requires a majority of board members have a direct interest in downtown property as a property owner or tenant and the lesser majority can include employees of property owners or tenants.

The DDA is currently seeking to fill two vacancies on its board.

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Jenny Lancour, (906) 786-2021, ext. 143,