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Council Approves HVAC Overhaul at City Hall

May 21, 2024

Keeping the wheels of local government turning, the City Council of Webster City approved 15 routine resolutions at its regularly-scheduled Monday night meeting.

Notable on the long agenda was the setting of a public hearing to consider a complete overhaul of the heating, ventilating and air-conditioning system — HVAC — at City Hall. Councilmen McKinney and Welch were not present at the meeting.

In recent years the HVAC system at City Hall has become increasingly unreliable. The building, which replaced Webster City’s historic City Hall in February, 1970, is heated by a 39-year-old boiler. A total of 38 HVAC components throughout the building have been repaired or replaced, and discharge from the system drains into a sanitary sewer, which isn’t allowed under Iowa Department of Natural Resources standards for new buildings.

A 255-page project manual, prepared by Brewer Engineering Consultants PLC, Bondurant, the city’s retained consultant on the project, proposes an exhaustive $600,460 overhaul of the entire system. Details can be viewed on the City’s website. An additional $49,500 in engineering fees to manage and oversee the project would be paid to Brewer for work on the project. A public hearing is scheduled for July 15 at 6:20 p.m. in City Hall to consider whether the project should proceed.

While Webster Citians are very well aware of the extensive road work being completed this year on Fair Meadow Drive between Des Moines and Superior streets, plans are being made to upgrade Fair Meadow Drive west of Des Moines Street through to Rodlyn Road in 2025. Smaller in scope than the present project, the 2025 work will cost an estimated $340,600 to complete.

The scope of work on the 2025 project includes new curbs and gutters, new hot melt asphalt paving, sidewalks constructed along the south side of Fair Meadow Drive where none exist today, and pedestrian ramps at corners. Conditions of storm sewers under the street will be evaluated and analyzed via remote video camera, and brick storm sewer manholes replaced with new or rehabilitated ones with an estimated service life of 50 to 75 years. Bids will be sought in December, and work started next spring or summer.

In other action, Council approved:

. Loan agreements for issuance of $5.135 million in water revenue bonds and electric utility revenue bonds not to exceed $8.835 million. Three bids were received from 40 banks contacted. TD Securities of New York City won the right to sell the bonds. Two bids were received in connection with the electric utility bond issue, the winner being Fidelity Investments of Boston.

The water bonds are rated A+ and the electric bonds A-. Neither bond issue is a general obligation of the city, and cannot be paid with taxes. They can only be paid with rates paid by users to the city’s water and electric utilities.

. A request to seek proposals from four Webster City banks — Avalia, First State, People’s Credit Union and Webster City Federal Savings Bank — for banking services beginning July 15, 2024, and running for five years. The City requires a checking account for general operations, another checking account for United States Department of Agriculture revolving loan fund business and an interest-earning sweep account.

. A request to hold a public hearing amending the fiscal year 2024 budget. The City must hold such a hearing when it is determined revenues will be less, or expenditures greater, than budgeted. In the current case, property taxes are expected to fall short of forecast by $24,000; building permits will bring in $50,000 less than projected; intragovernmental transfers are expected to be $820,000 lower; and bonding income may be up to $24.440 million lower than expected.

The hearing will be held Monday June 3, at 6:05 p.m. at City Hall.

. Eight transfers requested by Finance Director Dodie Wolfgram, including transfer Nos. 1 to 3; one from each of the city utilities — water, wastewater and electrical, for 6% of actual fiscal year 2022 sales. These will be moved to the general fund to cover franchise fees. Transfer No. 4 will set aside funds for water bond payments due this year, transfer Nos. 5 and 6 will establish new funds dedicated to economic development, and transfers 7 and 8 will be used to reconcile funds to be closed out.

. Final write-off of $29,642.14 in uncollectible utility billings and $7,476.24 for other city services including frozen water meters, barricading of collapsed buildings, damages to electrical infrastructure due to accidents (mostly caused by automobile drivers), and hanger rental due, but unpaid, at Webster City Municipal Airport.

. Seeking bids and setting a public hearing concerning the purchase of 15Kv metallized switchgear at Reisner subdivision. The purchase will cover eight vacuum circuit breakers, controls, accessories, relays and communications cables among other equipment.

. Seeking a permanent easement from Kwik Star for the City to run an underground electrical service line from Fair Avenue to the site of the company’s new store on the city’s west side for the purpose of providing electrical service to the new convenience store complex. There is no electrical service to the site at present.

. Setting of a public hearing regarding plans, specifications, contract and cost estimate for the fiscal year 2025 hot melt asphalt improvement project. As in past projects the scope of work includes curb and gutter replacement, pavement milling, HMA paving, and placement of sewer manhole box outs and water valve extensions. No utility pipe or structure replacement is expected to be included in the project. New sub-base material will be provided by the City’s Street Department from recycled concrete and asphalt millings.

The project covers the following streets: Bell Avenue and High Street from Buxton Drive to E. Second Street; East Street from Des Moines to north of Lucas Street; Boone Street from Grove to Des Moines Street; Water Street from Funk to Prospect Street; and Third Street from Grove to Broadway.

. A second reading of an ordinance amending the code of ordinances of the City of Webster City, which would see stop signs placed on Grove Street to stop traffic at Cedar Street. This is to improve safety for cars and pedestrians in the vicinity of Sunset Elementary School.

. Supporting an effort by the Webster City Association of Business & Industry to convert the second floor of the Webster City Area Chamber of Commerce offices at 628 Second Street into two rental apartments. The city’s contribution is $1,800 in cash and $200 in waived building permits. Chamber Director Anna Woodward thanked the council, saying the project would “contribute to both the continued revitalization of downtown, and help alleviate the present housing shortage in Webster City.”

Mayor John Hawkins read two proclamations at the meeting: the first proclaiming May 24 as National Poppy Day. As it has in years past, the American Legion will be selling the poppies to commemorate those who died in military service to the United States. Hawkins then declared May 27 as Memorial Day, noting that this is the 149th year the nation has recognized its war dead. The tradition began in 1868 immediately following the Civil War, when it was known as Decoration Day, a day for decorating the graves of veterans with flags.

Finally, Hawkins administered the oath of office to the newest police officer in the Webster City police department, Anthony J. Luft.


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

Last modified: May 21, 2024

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