Gladstone special assessment process begins

GLADSTONE — The Gladstone City Commission approved a resolution and set the first public hearing for the 9th Street Project’s special assessment district during its regular meeting Monday.

City Manager Darcy Long presented a revised map of the district for the project created by City Assessor Janice Ketcham.

He explained the total project cost at the end of the 15-year bond would be around $4.7 million and special assessments will cover $508,869 or 10.63 percent of the cost.

The estimated average special assessment cost per lineal foot is $2.67.

Long said two parcels in the district cannot be special assessed at the full value as the parcels are valued at less than 50 percent and the U.S. Post Office within the district will not be special assessed. The city will cover the short fall of $10,771.50 or 718.10 annually.

The 9th Street project, which is supposed to begin this summer, includes a total reconstruction of 9th Street — including work on storm drains, water lines, and sewer lines from Minneapolis Avenue to 4th Avenue — as well as work on other streets, avenues and alleys. The work on 9th Street will also include work on some of the sidewalks and the addition of a bike lane.

The work being done within the project was recently scaled back due to bids coming in higher than expected.

The project was awarded to Oberstar Inc., under the condition total construction cost is kept under $3.5 million.

The 9th Street project was to encompass parts of 9th Street, Delta North and South alleys, 6th Street, Superior Avenue, 11th Street, the alley between Minneapolis and Wisconsin avenues, 3rd Avenue, 8th Street, and the 4th Street sanitary. However, Superior Avenue, the sanitary sewer on 4th Street, and some sidewalks were cut from the project.

The 9th Street project is within the Downtown Development Authority district, so the DDA will cover the cost of 70 percent of the project and the city will cover the remaining 30 percent.

To fund the project, the DDA and city have looked into a 15-year capital improvement bond through Robert W. Baird & Co., an American multinational independent investment bank and financial services company based out of Milwaukee.

Both the DDA and the city have already put money towards the project and have included the payments within their budgets.

Linda Howlett, chairperson of the DDA, read a letter on the behalf of the DDA with regards to the 9th Street project.

She said the DDA wrote to express the wholehearted support of the 9th Street Project.

“Although we’ve had many questions as the city moves towards implementation of the project, our support and enthusiasm have not wavered,” she read from the letter.

She added the DDA feels, despite the cuts on the scope of the project, the overall work being done will improve the city as a whole.

The public hearing on the project’s special assessment district will take place at the next city commission meeting on July 8 at 6 p.m. There will be another public hearing on the individual properties within the district on July 22 at 6 p.m.

Long said the hope is to have the special assessment process done on July 22 so the bonding process can begin for the project.

The special assessment process must be completed before the bonding process can begin and the bonding process has to be completed before the construction can begin on the project.

According to Scott Nowack of Coleman Engineering Co., with everything taken into account, the tentative start date for construction is in August.

With all of the delays the project will no longer be a one-year project, but will conclude in 2020.

In other business, the commission:

– Authorized the resolution No. 2019-05 for the submission of a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) to Delta Force PI, LLC. in the amount of $23,995 to aid in the expansion of its business operations within the city of Gladstone. A public hearing was held at the beginning of the meeting, however no one from the public spoke on the matter.

– Extended the summer 2019 tax due date to Sept. 16.

– Set the water, wastewater, electric and solid waste rates. There were no changes to the rates this fiscal year despite the water and wastewater departments asking for 70 cent increases. The commission unanimously felt any rate increases should wait until the following year after the results of the rate studies by Utility Financial Solutions, LLC. of Holland, Mich.

– Approved the 2019-2020 Fee Schedule.

– Approved the delinquent utilities to be moved to the summer taxes and approved the delinquent miscellaneous invoices off to taxes.

– Accepted the tree clearing bid from Bugle Contracting in the amount of $30,000, which is $20,000 less than what was budgeted for in the city’s 2019-2020 fiscal year budget.

– Accepted the proposal from Coleman Engineering for professional services for force main design and permitting for the underpass lift station not to exceed $9,500. Approximately 1,100 feet of force main is being replaced in the 9th Street project and this would add an additional 1,275 feet to the project.

– Watched a presentation of Sydney Herioux receiving a check for the WPPI Public Power Scholarship.

– Heard a public comment from John Haswell on the hazardous conditions of 15th Street and inquired when work will be done to the street. Long said some work on the street will be done mid-summer.

– Heard a public comment from Linda Gray about the recent administrative leave and/or firing of a city employee.

– Heard a public comment from Paul Geyer about the city’s amended PA 202. He asked for an update because the last time it was mentioned was back in May when it was decided to send the amended version to the state. Commissioner Dave Phalen told Geyer he did not have an answer on an update, but would find out and get back to him.