Council discusses traffic lights, bonding for new sewer plant

City Council
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

   In August, the Monticello City Council discussed the traffic lights at signals at three major intersections in town: First and Cedar, First and Main, and Main and Oak streets. At that time, it was determined that the lights at First and Main were in dire need of being replaced.

   The council felt that the lights at Main and Oak and First and Cedar were working just fine.

   However, the traffic lights at Main and Oak have been blinking for a few weeks now.

   During the Nov. 7 city council meeting, Public Works Director Nick Kahler explained that a driver hit the light pole near the former Kum & Go intersection.

   Kahler has been working with Jared Lasley with REM Electric and the company General Traffic Controls to get the lights back in working order.

   “We’re trying to find parts,” Kahler told the council.

   Kahler said he’s also been in contact with the driver’s insurance company.

   “It will stay in flash mode for the time being,” Kahler said until everything can be fixed.

   The council approved a resolution related to financing the sewer treatment plant project. The project is now estimated to cost $21 million. This resolution allows the city to utilize General Obligation Bonds if needed.

   The city was awarded a total of $20,781,000 in USDA grants and loans. If the project, including any change orders, should come in higher than anticipated, the GO Bonds would cover the additional costs.

   “It’s an insurance policy,” explained City Administrator Russ Farnum. “We have no intent of going over budget or spending on the sewer facility. But whatever happens, this resolution allows us to issue GO Bonds beyond the amount.”

   Farnum said this could be a three-year project, and once the city is well into construction, they cannot go back and apply for additional funding.

   “We hope we never have to use it,” he added of the GO Bonds. “But it’s better to be safe than sorry.”

In other city business:

   • Mayor Dave Goedken read a proclamation, declaring Saturday, Nov. 26, Small Business Saturday.

   “Shop local!” Goedken urged.

   • The council approved the city’s FY 2021-22 Annual Urban Renewal (TIF) Report.

   The TIF balance on July 1, 2021 included $72,583 in unrestricted funds and $15,280 in restricted LMI (low-to-moderate income housing). The balance on June 30, 2022 included $327,100 in unrestricted funds and $15,464 in restricted LMI.

   • The council approved the FY 2024 TIF certification in the amount of $550,000.

   The city has only ever certified the TIF necessary to meet its obligations over the last several years. Typically, between $550,000 and $750,000 is certified.

   • The council approved the purchase of a Western Star chassis from Truck Country in the amount of $120,762.

   • The council approved an ad-hoc committee to discuss city employee wages, benefits, and renewal of agreements. There can be three council members on the committee, otherwise it’s considered a quorum.

   Council members Chris Lux, Brenda Hanken, and Wayne Peach offered to serve on the committee with city staff.

   “We’ll talk through a number of issues, including the impact on the budget,” warned Farnum.

   “We have a lot to address,” added Goedken. “We’ve lost employees’ we’re not retaining help. We need to make some adjustments.”


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