Council on fence with sewer main project

City Council
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     The Monticello City Council has spent three consecutive meetings discussing a Highway 38 sewer main project to benefit three homes/properties in Cedar Street.

     The talk continued into the May 18 council meeting, with final action to table any decisions at this point.

     Norm Zimmerman, who owns property on Cedar Street, has to connect to city sewer versus the use of a malfunctioning septic system, per order of Jones County Environmental Health. Two additional homes, owned by Sid Schatz and Lisa Winch, are also on a private septic system. The city would like to see all homes on city services if possible.

     After continued discussion, Zimmerman agreed to do so at a cost of $9,000. However, after talking with Mayor Brian Wolken on the matter, the agreed-upon amount increased to $12,000. Winch and Schatz each agreed to connect to city sewer at an assessment of $5,000 each.

     The total cost for a project like this is around $70,000, at the city’s expense.

     In order to complete this project, Systems Unlimited agreed to offer an easement through their property for the sewer line.

     The city’s engineer, Snyder & Associates, shared that the DNR recommends an 8-inch sewer main. Zimmerman’s idea for a 6-inch line does not meet DNR standards, and would have to be classified as a private service line. The city does not own service lines. And Zimmerman would like to see this project taken over by the city versus himself.

     Council member Dave Goedken felt that the $5,000 assessment was not fair to the city taxpayers, considering the estimate of the project. City Administrator Doug Herman reminded the council that they agreed to the $5,000 at a previous meeting.

     “It’s a low number but it gets this project moving and eliminates three septic tanks in one shot,” said Wolken.

     “From feedback from the public, the number is ridiculous and I can’t vote for $5,000,” Goedken said. “It’s ridiculous to spend $70,000 for three people.”

     Schatz and Winch were not willing to go with a higher assessment.

     Goedken suggested Zimmerman investigate the cost of a 6-inch sewer service line before the city took formal action. “That makes the most sense,” he said. “We need to take time to seriously look at this and fully explore how it’ll work.”

     Should Zimmerman put in the service line, it would not require city investment.

In other city business:

   • The council approved a service agreement with the Jones County Sheriff’s Department for $24,017, a 10 percent increase over the previous fiscal year.

     • The council approved an application for a Rural Innovation Lab grant for $20,000. If successful this would be used to improve the façade and entryway of the old Dollar General building at 101. E. First St.

     • The council approved a contract with Midwest Concrete for the second phase of the trail project along Highway 38. The base quote, in the amount of $69,657.30, takes the trail along the highway to cross at the high school entrance. The alternative, in the amount of $9,288.55, takes the trail to the first cemetery driveway, 100 feet past the high school crossing.

     The city received two bids for this project.


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