N. Sycamore Street Project put into motion

City Council
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     Several resolution approvals during the Monday, Feb. 4 Monticello City Council set the wheels in motion to move forward with the N. Sycamore Street Reconstruction Project in 2019.

     Two public hearings were set for Monday, March 4 at 6 p.m. to amend the city’s Urban Renewal Plan; and to address the proposed plans, specifications, and cost estimate for the N. Sycamore project. A third public hearing was set for Monday, Feb. 18 at 6 p.m. to enter into a General Obligation Loan Agreement to borrow no more than $2.7 million for the N. Sycamore project.

     The project’s base cost is $2,429,079.85, with a bid alternate of $95,000. The alternate covers decorative streetlights, work on a water main, and additional funds for curb and gutter. While the project is expected to cost just under $2.5 million, City Administrator Doug Herman said the $2.7 million provides some cushion.

     “It provides some flexibility should we need more money,” he said.

     The city plans to open project bids at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, March 12. The project will be awarded on March 18 following the public hearing that evening.

     Plans for the project will be made available online or at City Hall.

     City Engineer Patrick Schwickerath anticipates the project to physically start in April, weather pending at that time.

     “It’s a good time to bid a project like this,” he said. “We’ve heard from some interested contractors, and contractors should not have full plates yet.”

     In terms of the city’s Urban Renewal Plan, Herman said the N. Sycamore Street project could be eligible for TIF funding. The debt from this project will be covered by TIF payments at 60 percent, and Debt Service at 40 percent. But, before this can occur, a public hearing is required.

     Herman said the use of TIF payments allows the city to keep the project debt on a 10-year payback plan as opposed to a 15-year plan. This also lowers the interest rates, reduces the city’s debt service levy, and overall saves the city $500,000 in interest from the bonds. Using TIF, however, means N. Sycamore Street will be made part of the city’s TIF district.

     Also related to the N. Sycamore Street Project, the council awarded the bid for tree removal to Randy Muller Tree Service in the amount of $36,250. Muller was the lowest of three bids, ranging from $49,775 to $36,250.

     Sixty-four trees will be removed in advance of the project. Muller will also be responsible for the removal of the stumps as well.

     One issue Herman brought to light concerned the future of the overall street project. He said the city doesn’t want all of the trees removed until the council is certain that the N. Sycamore Street Project will move forward. That decision would be based on the bids opened on March 12.

     Muller said he is agreeable to waiting until the city reviews the project bids. “We do need a reasonable amount of time to get the project completed,” he warned.

     Schwickerath said the contractor on the street project will start with the sewer work first, giving Muller time to get his equipment in to remove the trees before the street is torn up. He also urged Muller to attend the pre-construction meeting with the contractor when that date is set.

In other city business:

     • The council set a public hearing for Monday, March 4 at 6 p.m. to amend a development agreement between the city and Orbis. This is related to the Orbis expansion project and the city water main system.

     • The council approved the second and third readings of the amended ATV/UTV ordinance.

     The city adopted the county’s new ordinance to allow the operation of ATVs/UTVs in city limits.

     With the approval, ATV/UTV owners will be required to obtain their registration through the County Recorder’s Office for the DNR sticker. You will no longer have to go through the Monticello Police Department.

     • Herman informed the council that Public Works Director Brant LaGrange has turned in his resignation, effective March 1.

     • Mayor Brian Wolken shared that Council member Johnny Russ is now serving on the Monticello Fire Department, and has expressed interest in resigning as the Ward 2 representative on the council. If anyone from Ward 2 is interested in serving on the council, contact City Hall. To find out if you reside in Ward 2, contact City Hall as well.

     Herman advised the council to appoint someone to fill Russ’ seat versus holding a special election, which costs the city money.



Subscriber Login