Welcome plans major upgrades

WELCOME – About 25 residents attended the Welcome City Council meeting this week to hear about and discuss street and utility improvement project plans.

Bolton & Menk engineers Travis Winter and Matt Cole explained that the hearing was the first of two required by state law as it relates to assessments.

The condition of some of the infrastructure was explained, along with reasons for improvements in targeted areas.

The sanitary sewer has poor sealing, especially at pipe joints. The storm sewer has small tiles and mains. The water main is old and has had frequent breaks. The streets have cracking surfaces, and either no curb and gutter or they are in poor condition. The improvements planned involve storm sewer mains, catch basins and manholes; new sanitary sewers to property lines; water mains, hydrants and valves; water service lines; resurfacing of streets; and drainage.

Affected areas were mapped out for those in attendance. They are: Fourth Street to Campbell, Third Street to Highway 263 and Campbell Street to First Street.

The schedule mentioned by the engineers is to finalize plans and specifications by March 5 and be ready for bids, to reward contracts for construction by April 16 and to perform the construction work from May to November.

In 2020, there would be an assessment hearing. The actual assessment would be mailed out at the end of the project and will depend on cost of the projects. Appeals from residents who disagree with assessments will need to be in writing. Assessments are not levied on sewer and water main lines. Service lines to property are assessed at 100 percent. The street surface is assessed at $1 per lineal foot times 30 percent. The engineers estimate the cost for streets, sidewalks and storm sewer to be from $60 to $80 per foot of frontage. The water service charge may be $2,500 each, with a cap at about 10 percent of property value.

The engineers emphasized these are estimates. They say that right now the project will cost $2.4 million. The water main estimate is $558,000. The sanitary sewer estimate is $169,000. The storm sewer estimate is $195,000. Funding for the work will come through bonds issued by the city, the local tax levy and assessments.

The engineers warned residents that there will be a substantial disturbance on the streets affected. Residents also may need wiring changes and may see some tree removal, when necessary. Driveways may be inaccessible for weeks, necessitating parking on side streets. There may interruptions of utility, mail and garbage services. Residents with special needs may contact Bolton & Menk to see if arrangements can be made.

New streets will be 36 feet wide, with curb and gutter built on all streets in the project. Sidewalks will be constructed on certain streets. The reason for the improvements is to bring these streets up to code.

A question-and-answer period followed the presentation.

Officials say the assessments will be for all properties affected: city property, schools, churches, businesses and residents.

The street by the school was discussed. It was stated that the trees on the west side will probably be saved since the street would be 36 feet wide, slightly smaller than it is now. The street will have curb and gutter on both sides.

The street by the fire hall also will have curb and gutter, and a special driveway for the fire department.

Engineers say drainage patterns will not be changed, just improved by larger pipes.

Driveways will be concrete to the right of way or property lines.

Residents can talk to construction companies about extending driveways at their expense.

After the hearing, the City Council approved preparation of the proposed plans described by the engineers.

In another matter, the council discussed the parking ordinance and approved prohibiting parking downtown until snow is removed from the middle of the street and city employees are done working there.

The next meeting of the council will be 6 p.m. Jan. 15 at City Hall.