City receives USDA loan for Sixth Street Ditch Project

City Council
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     A special Monticello City Council meeting was held on May 24.

     With two items on the agenda, the council approved a resolution authorizing Mayor Brian Wolken to execute a letter of intent and request funds from the USDA for a loan for the city’s Sixth Street Ditch Project.

     The City of Monticello was awarded a loan from the USDA for up to $743,000 at 1.375 percent interest over 40 years, if necessary.

     “We can pay it off early and renegotiate terms and reduce the amount we’re requesting at any time,” explained Wolken.

     For example, the loan amount might change depending on residential property assessments associated with the project.

     The total loan cost covers engineering, construction observation, and contingencies, as well as other services.

     Wolken said if the city decides to seek funding for the project through a local bank, for instance, they could still do so and turn down the USDA loan.

     The Sixth Street Ditch project includes:

     • Repairs and replacement of the existing retaining walls along the ditch

     • Removal of debris and the vegetation that restricts the flow of water throughout the ditch

     • Increasing the channel conveyance by reshaping it

     • Adding protection via revetment, bendway weirs, and turf reinforcement mats

     • And Restoration of the ditch

     Council member Tom Yeoman asked whether USDA would advertise for project bids and handle easements with property owners. Wolken said those would be duties placed on the City Attorney through Lynch Dallas.

     “Ideally, it’d be nice if we had voluntary assessments and easements,” commented Wolken. “Even if one person withholds, we can’t go through with this project.”

     Council member Dave Goedken said the city would still need permanent easements to provide long-term maintenance of the ditch.

     Right now, city residents pay $1 per month, $2.50 for businesses, for a storm water fee. Goedken said the fee was higher at one time, but the city didn’t have any projects in the works, so it was ultimately reduced.

     “We could bump it to $2 and everyone in town could help cover the project,” he suggested.

     “It’s an option,” added Yeoman.

In other city business:

     • The council approved the purchase of a lift pump for the Wastewater Treatment Plant from Electric Pump in Des Moines. The cost is $32,483.

     Water/Wastewater Superintendent Jim Tjaden told the council that during a recent inspection, the electrical pump was called into question.

     “We can’t wait (to replace it) until we get a new plant,” he said of the dire need. “All three pumps are in disrepair.”

     Tjaden said typically a replacement pump might take two to three months; he was lucky to find one now.

     “We should get it yet this week or next,” he said.


Subscriber Login