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City sets hearing to move forward on $78 million wastewater plant

January 17, 2023

The City of Webster City is proposing to buy property in order to move forward with the proposed $78 million wastewater treatment plant project.

To do that, it will hold a public hearing on Feb. 20 at 6:05 p.m. in the Council Chambers of City Hall, 400 Second St., Webster City.

On that date, the City Council will talk about the necessity of the project, consider authorizing acquisition of property for the project.

The city is interested in six parcels — four of which are owned by Dean Allan Gillette and two held in trust by Subhash Sahai.

“The City, if it moves to authorize acquisition of property, will attempt to acquire said property through good-faith negotiations,” according to the Jan. 16 City Council of Webster City meeting packet. “However, eminent domain may be used to acquire necessary property, including easements, if good faith negotiations are not successful.”

The wastewater project is in the planning and design phase, according to the council packet.

“Because this project involves construction of two sewer force mains and outfall piping from the new facility site to the Boone River, there are additional easements and property the City will need to acquire. These are necessary in order for the project to move forward.”

The plant itself, which will be located south of U.S. 20, will cost roughly $57 million, according to Mayor John Hawkins.

The age and condition, as well as environmental regulatory demands, put Webster City in the position of having to build the new facility at a time when material costs have increased and waiting times for those materials have become prolonged.

In a separate item on Monday’s council agenda, it agreed to amend its budget to purchase three rotating biological contactor drives for the existing wastewater treatment plant at a cost of $121,792.05.

“There’s another $120,000 down the drain,” Hawkins remarked.

In other agenda items:

The council, with members Matt McKinney and Logan Welch absent, agreed to expand the Webster City Riverview Urban Renewal Area to incorporate the parks and the outdoor swimming pool for future funding opportunities.

The council also heard a brief overview and the city’s annual audit.

It agreed to allow City Manager Daniel Ortiz-Hernandez to execute a purchase order for materials for the 2022 Electrical Underground Conversion Project. Bids for the project were received on Jan. 11.

“This bid opening covered transformers and other materials for which no bids were received on the previous bid openings for this project. Two bids were received, from Wesco in Des Moines and RESCO in Elkhart.”

“The estimated value of the items quoted was $181,155. The total quoted cost was $341,549, or 89% over the estimate,” according to the council packet. “The quoted cost of the transformers was $331,141, or 95% over the estimate. For comparison, the cost for these same transformers at the prices actually paid for the 2020 Conversion project would be $65,188. The quoted transformer price is 508% of the actual 2020 cost.”

The council set March 20 at 6:05 p.m. for the public hearing on the Advanced Metering Infrastructure Project. The AMI’s goal is to improve the process of collecting monthly water utility meter data, enhance the level of service offered to water customers, and obtain more accurate water use information.

Also on Monday, the council approved a request by the Webster City Fire Department to seek bids to update its ability to refill the breathing air canisters it uses.


View this article as it originally appeared in the Daily Freeman-Journal.

Last modified: January 17, 2023

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