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Engineering updates were again at the heart of the Riverside City Council meeting Monday, October 17, as council members made a few adjustments to the Ella Street project.
The major item was city and project engineer Glen Meisner looking for direction from the council as the best way to proceed with getting grass to grow along the street.
The first option, seeding, was made more difficult by the fact that it is now past the optimal timeframe for seeding. While cheaper short-term, straw mats would have to be laid to try to combat erosion to limit reseeding to be done in the spring.
The other option is laying sod, which would give a better idea how the project would look when finished in the fall and there is still time for the sod to take. Watering was included in the price. The downside is that it is more expensive up front and, should the council be dissatisfied with the project come spring, harder to tear up.
When discussion started, it was clear that sod was the preferred method, passing 5-0 at a cost of $19,166.44. Meisner when asked, said $3,600 would have covered the cost of the seeding if it had been on time.
MMS Consultants was also instructed to raise four panels of the Gehrs’ sidewalk five inches to better funnel water to the beehive type of storm drain on their property, and meet with the Riverside Fire Department on whether the hydrant at Third Street and Ella Street needs to be raised.
On the Cherry Lane project, resolutions were approved for a change order for $2,031.24 for seeding and a pay estimate for $10,501.34, but there have also been some delays. City Clerk Lory Young has been in contact with Alliant Energy on the placement of electric lines in the Cherry Lane lots, but the contact is out of town until October 19. Meisner is also working with the contractor on penalties for the late finishing of the project. The figure was determined to be $10,000 for 20 workdays, but discussion was halted by a death in the family of the contractor.
The council members also approved mud jacking to fix the manhole on Ron Popham’s property.
In other business, resolutions were passed to adopt the new zoning ordinance and the sale of property to Doug Havel of Bud’s Custom Meats for $37,302.92 after a public hearing. To price the land, Meisner used the sale of land for the Dollar General in Lone Tree for reference. The other resolution passed was waiving the right to review the plat for Pigg Hills.
A resolution to approve new building permit application and fees was tabled so fees for surrounding communities, including Lone Tree, Kalona, and Wellman, among others, could be researched to ensure competitive rates.
The council members also approved insurance benefits for Deputy Clerk Becky LaRoche, since she qualifies as a full-time employee under insurance guidelines, and agreed to allow Young to roll over vacation time until the end of the year. A work session is scheduled for October 27, to work on the handbook, including how to change over vacation time to be kept track of on a calendar basis, not by hiring date.
LaRoche and Young also agreed to change the work area arrangement to improve customer service, while Councilmember Robert Schneider Jr. agreed to teach them how to record calls. The council agreed to put video cameras back on the agenda to record interactions to better document complaints.
The council members also voted to release the insurance funds for Al Dehogues after he satisfactorily cleaned up the property at 51 S. Boise Street after a fire in December.
The city will also advertise for part-time help as needed for the street and parks division.
When the next water bill comes out, residents may see a lower or higher rate as the bill is adjusted. For the previous two cycles, average water consumption was used for billing purposes due to the fact that no one was available to do meter readings. This cycle’s bill will be either lower or higher depending on whether the actual rate of water used was higher or lower than the average water use that the residents were billed for.
During citizen’s time, citizen Kathy Lindhorst reminded those present of the haunted hayride taking place from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. and said volunteers were still needed for the event.