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At their regular meeting Monday, July 20, the Mount Ayr city council brought to an official close the major water distribution system improvement project.
The council voted unanimously to approve final payment of the retainage to the three contractors responsible for work on the project.
Retainage is the final amount retained by the city until the work on the project is officially accepted as complete.
Final payments of $26,099.50 to Jordan and Sons, $95,487 to Shane Poe Construction, and $46,194.58 to Crain Construction were approved at Monday’s meeting.
It was noted the contractors are scheduled to return to town in late August or early September to complete reseeding in various locations disrupted during the project.
The council then approved a final drawdown of $18,002 from the project’s CDBG grant and another $156,854.08 from the State Revolving Fund loan to satisfy the payment requests and associated engineering fees.
In related action, the council also accepted as complete the project to improve two blocks of Garfield Street between Monroe and Adams streets.
A payment request from Feldhacker Construction of $178,871.23 included a change order of $16,190 for additional site work on the project.
Seeding, fertilizing and mulching along the perimeter of the roadway will come later in the fall under a separate bid.
With the approval of the Garfield project, the council also granted an official notice to proceed with reconstruction of Cleveland Street, again by Feldhacker Construction.
New sheriff’s vehicle
In a follow-up to a discussion from the July 6 council meeting, Ringgold County sheriff Rob Haley met with the council to clarify costs related to a new law enforcement vehicle.
Under an agreement between the city and sheriff’s department, the city is responsible for the purchase and outfitting of up to two vehicles for use by Haley’s department to provide law enforcement service to the city.
Haley explained the U.S. Department of Agriculture had approved a grant amount of $16,100 to go towards the purchase and outfitting of a 2020 Dodge Durango at a total cost of $40,555.
The council approved payment of the balance of $24,555.
Shopko parking lot
City manager Brent Wise reported negotiations are ongoing with Raider Hill Advisors on the sale of the city-owned parking lot in front of the former Shopko location.
Raider Hill is representing Hy-Vee in the negotiations.
A purchase offer of $35,000 for the lot has been on the table for several weeks, but negotiations are hung up on ownership and control of the alleyway that provides access to the parking lot.
Attorneys for Raider Hill feared the city might someday sell the alleyway to a third party who could effectively block assess to the parking lot.
To retain access to utilities that run under the alley, the city had declined Raider Hill’s request to sell the alley as part of the lot.
Raider Hill then asked for an easement on the alley, but it was later learned such an easement is illegal under Iowa law.
Raider Hill then suggested the city designate the alleyway an extension of Adams Street, but such a move would carry additional costs to the city for details related to a new plat of the area.
Wise remarked it would be cheaper to open an entirely new access point to the lot along Fillmore Street.
At the conclusion of the discussion Wise said he has requested a face-to-face meeting with Hy-Vee representatives to show them the arrangement of the lot and alleyway rather than their merely relying on Google Maps pictures of the location to guide their decisions.
In other business, the council:
• approved the purchase of a soil conditioner attachment to the city’s skidloader. The cost of the rotary tiller attachment will depend on the width appropriate for the skidloader.
• approved rental of a machine to patch areas of city streets disrupted by recent projects.
• approved hiring the services of the Southern Iowa Council of Governments to provide technical services for a housing rehabilitation program funded by a CDBG grant. The total cost of $30,000 would cover up to six housing projects.
• approved a tax abatement application for Daniel and Erin Leonard for their new house.
• briefly discussed the need for a city policy related to the coronavirus pandemic. Wise said he would confer with Ringgold County officials as well as other cities to provide guidance for a city policy.