At their regular monthly session last week, the Stratford city council meeting started off with a public hearing for the FY15 budget and another hearing on the plans and specifications for the wastewater system retrofit project. No comments were received on either matter.
Jim Leiding, engineer from Bolton & Menk, reviewed the bid summary for the retrofit project and recommended awarding the contract to Spray Com Utilities, Inc., of Knob Noster, Missouri. Their low base bid was $258,907.75, plus add alternates totaling $43,558, putting the total amount of the contract at $302,465.75 for the wastewater system retrofit project.
The final awarding of the project and approval of the funding is subject to concurrence from FEMA and Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management. The councilmen approved the contract, bond, and making the contract.
The council also reviewed the bid summary for the Stratford Downtown Revitalization Faade Project. The lowest bid received for the project was $28,700 over project budget. Allers Architects and MIDAS Council of Governments recommend delaying awarding the construction contract for the project, with the added time to allow additional review of the bids, discussions with contractors and provide the contractor an opportunity for suggestions on how to reduce project costs. The council okayed the recommendation to allow further review of project bids for the project.
In personnel matters, a cost of living wage increase of 1.5 percent for FY15 for city staff was approved. A wage increase of $.60 per hour for Tanner Jensen, effective the next payroll, was also approved.
Also, the council gave approval to advertise and hire for management and staff for the local pool for this summer.
Hamilton County S.E.E.D. dues for FY15, at $4 per capita totaling $2,972, were approved.
In other business on Monday, the council was informed that the city received a $7,048.95 credit on their electric utility bill from Midland Power Cooperative due to the success of the MPC merger with Humboldt County REC. The council then decided to pass along that credit to the city of Stratford utility customers as a credit on utility bills.
In a related matter, the city's utility rates were reviewed. An in-depth analysis of utility rates was done in 2011 by William Leung LLC, and at that time the council was advised that the rates being approved would be adequate for several years. City manager Rachel Cahill told the council that these rates continue to be sufficient but asked if the council would like to reconsider the base rate. The council decided to make no change.
City councilman Larry Runyon, Stratford's representative to the North Central Iowa Regional Solid Waste Authority, commented that the agency will be seriously considering changing their gate charges from cubic yard to tonnage. The council reviewed Stratford's tonnage and current costs. Cahill informed the council that the waste management contract with Stratford specifies that landfill disposal cost changes are applied to the city's contract fees.
Also on Monday, the council approved:
Advertising for the sale of the 1995 Freightliner FL 70 with water tank, owned by the city. Sealed bids will be opened at the March 10 council meeting.
A Build with Bags grant application for four recycled plastic park picnic tables for the city park.
Donating one family season pool pass to the Stratford elementary booster club for the fundraising event on March 8.
A resolution to participate in the Iowa Department of Transportation All Town Sign Replacement Program of 2014.
A request from the city manager to attend the Iowa Municipal Managers Institute March 19-21.