The Beloit City Council had a number of formal actions to discuss during their meeting Tuesday evening. Not all members agreed on the outcome of the five issues that came before the council and each member voted according to their conscience as to what should be done.
The first action to be taken involved the contract on the catalytic converter project with a company called DCL America Inc. out of Houston, Texas. DCL was the only company that responded to the request for proposals sent out by Olson and Associates. The project engineer, Ken Fairchild, explained this at a previous council meeting but said he feels this company is reliable and will do a good job.
The total price for this project is $288,707.00. Funding for this project comes from the revenue bond issued by the city electric company that covered these converters and the cooling tower project. Lloyd Littrell, long time city employee, asked if this price included the mufflers to be used in the stacks. Kendal Francis, present plant manager, said the mufflers have been ordered but haven't arrived yet. Littrell addressed Administrator Rodden and asked how these mufflers could be ordered when the council hasn't authorized their purchase yet.
Administrator Rodden explained the deadline to have these catalytic converters installed is May of 2013 and if they don't meet the deadlines they won't be able to run the power plant except in case of an emergency. He was asked if they couldn't request a time extension in which to complete the project. Rodden said they might if they show commitment and that they are moving forward with the project. They have been running it for generation purposes. This cost comes out of the bond issue we approved and we need to get it finished, Rodden told the council. The council moved to approve the DCL Contract as presented by a vote of seven to one with Councilman Littrell voting against the action since the council hadn't yet approved ordering the parts.
Formal Action number two was the council's approval of the hiring of Heather Hartman for the position of community development director. Administrator Rodden explained the search committee conducted numerous interviews during the past two month to fill this position. The committee was impressed with Heather's enthusiasm, knowledge, and energy. Rodden said he looks forward to working with Heather for many years in the future. Councilman Matt Otte said he likes Heather and has no problem with this decision to hire her but he felt the interviews should have been conducted by members of the city council and not inform them of the decision after it has been made. He feels it sends a bad message to have a separate entity make this decision with out running it through the council.
This position falls under the city department head title and she is to respond to Adm. Rodden, the SVED, and the County Commissioners. The county and the city will now be responsible for her wages. The city will be paying in $45,000 and the county will contribute one-half a mil of tax money a year. Councilman Otte made the motion and the council unanimously approved hiring Hartman for the position.
The Council approved the agreement with Chautauqua Isle of Lights Inc. by 8to 0. Administrator Rodden said the committee won't be able to work in the area where the bridge is until the city gets the corner they are working on done but this shouldn't be a problem.
Two issues were added to the agenda at a late date. This involves the real estate contracts for the North Campus. The city already had an agreement with Mike Blass for some of the property but this part has changed. There are now three separate entities involved in the real estate area of the campus. Contracts have been set up with Brummer and Miller Construction for $373, Precision Construction for $6,350 and Mike Blass for $5,715. Blass also has an option on three more lots at $500 for each option to be used within a two-year time frame.
Councilman Otte asked what was to keep Blass from buying these lots and then setting on it if there is no clause saying he has to have them completed in two years.
Rodden said there is a lot of interest in that property and he is confident Mr. Blass will honor his contract. The council voted 6 to 2 to approve the three contracts and the three options with Councilman Otte and Bob Petterson casting the no votes.
The last formal action was to approve the sale of the two-story house on the North Campus to the Scottsville Community Church for a parsonage for $1,000. The buyer will take care of the asbestos removal and of getting the house moved. The city crew will have to fill in the hole left from the basement. Rodden said they plan to knock down the other house and another small building as they have been trashed. The Council voted 8 to 0 to approve the sale of the house.
During the Administrator's Report, Rodden said the city has been awarded two small KDOT bids and it looks like the city will be able to combine the two into one amount. KDOT will let them know what year these will be available. He said they had one bid on doing the dirt work on the north bank of the riverbed that needs to be stabilized and it was way over what was acceptable. They had thought that project would be finished at the end of October but this will probably be delayed since some of the city employees will have to do the work.
A 10-minute closed session was held with council members, Administrator Rodden and City Attorney Katie Cheney present. Mayor Tom Naasz announced no decisions were made.
During the work session Rodden gave a 2012 Swimming Pool Report and said from all angles the new pool did very well. While they would like to breakeven for the summer they only lost $3,000 as opposed to the 30 to 70 thousand dollars they were spending a year to keep the old pool useable. Lynn Miller reported they came in under budget and even with the six extra lifeguards they had to hire they only lost $3,000. Casey Seifert will be the new pool manager next year. Mayor Naasz commented this brings in a lot of sales tax money for the city. They had a lot of out of town patrons and even people from all over the state purchasing season tickets. He praised everyone who worked on the project.
John Devine, meeting facilitator, attended the meeting as a follow up on the council retreat held in June. Devine was very complimentary of what the council has achieved since their retreat. He mentioned the cooling towers, the new library, the new swimming pool, the new water line and the smart meters that are being put in.
Devine said not many towns this size are willing to step up and invest in their future. He agreed with council members they should use this year as a catch up year and focus on maintaining the new projects they have accomplished.
The final discussion only item on the work session agenda was the announcement that Crop Production Services (CPS) a company that already has facilities in Beloit is interested in purchasing the 10 acres south of their present building from the City of Beloit to build a large dry fertilizer storage facility. Mayor Naasz, who is an employee of CPS, said he is very excited the company has decided to build this structure in Beloit, as there are other communities interested in it.
Administrator Rodden said they have already had the land appraised at $50,000 for ten acres or $5,000 an acre. The biggest issue would be the main city power line that comes in across that land might have to be moved. Kendal Francis said his department does not currently use these 10 acres but they could possibally use them in the future to store sludge on. He said there is a sewer line that runs down the east side. The land is currently under lease until after harvest next year. Rodden said they would have to have the area rezoned from agricultural to industrial to do this.
Naasz said the company would like to move fairly quickly to start construction on the building. He said this would be a big plus for the City of Beloit to have this structure on the tax roll within the city limits. He told the council they wouldn't have to move the power line and CPS would take care of the sewer line problem.
They know the land is in the flood plain because their facility right next to it is so this isn't a problem either. The council gave Administrator Rodden permission to check on the sludge issue and to go to the Planning Commission and have the land rezoned to industrial status. This item will be on the council agenda at the November 5 meeting.
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