The Owen Common Council met on Tuesday, September 8, 2020. Council members present: Mayor Charlie Milliren, Joan Jalling, Pam Jaffke, Bob Wilczek, John Mauel, Allen Wagner, Clerk/Treasure Michelle Kind, CDC Tim Swiggum, OW Police Chief Ibarra, DPW Chad Smith and Brian Chapman, Cedar Corp.
Henry Berry of Ratsch Engineering, Neillsville, recommended hiring Rhom Construction, Eau Claire, to do the renovation of the Owen Community Building which will house city hall and the O-W Police Department. Rhom Construction came in with the lowest bid of $200,349.78 which was $3,278.03 less than the nearest bidder and included a smoke detection system. Sr. Project Manager is Nicholas Mohr, a former Owen-Withee resident who also constructed the first duplex at the Countryside Estates. The council expressed concern that the bids were higher than estimated. Henry explained that building materials are higher now and more renovations were discovered during the walk-through. John Mauel made the motion to approve the bid from Rhom Construction and all approved.
Cedar Corp’s Brian Chapman gave update on the 5th Street project. Curb and gutter and sidewalks are complete. The project is going well and is on budget and he has heard no complaints.
Since new duplexes are being constructed on 9th Street, Brian Chapman stressed the importance of putting in utilities this year. After much discussion regarding the cost and what needs to be done at this time, Bob Wilczek made a motion to put the construction out to bid, John Mauel seconded and all approved.
A new truck route was discussed which will lessen the load on 5th Street. DPW Chad Smith offered to secure new truck route signage from the Stanley Prison. Bob Wilczek made a motion to abandon the old truck route, Pam Jaffke seconded and all approved.
Raze orders for properties at 131 E. 4th Street and 319 E. 2nd Street were discussed in length. DPW Smith investigated the cost of asbestos removal of each property through North Star. The 2nd Street property was estimated at $4,193 to remove the asbestos and since the 4th Street property tested at high levels, the company said it would cost $34,000 to remove. Brian Chapman later informed Chad that Cedar Corp could help with the testing. They have a more accurate test of asbestos which may come back much lower which could dramatically reduce the cost of removal. It was also recommended to get the DNR on site for advice on deconstructing the property. Joan Jalling made a motion to have Cedar Corp look into the asbestos testing for a price of $1,500. Allen Wagner seconded and all approved.
CDC Tim Swiggum explained a report came in stating the city lost 27 residents this year. He believes that is not correct, and sites that there are only two less water bills last year. Bob Wilczek made a motion to proceed to challenge the population count, Joan Jalling seconded and all approved.
DPW Chad Smith reported that lead and copper levels have passed. They are back to talking with auto reader company for remote meter reading. Well #2 was taken down and replaced with a hydrant which will save the city money. Chad discussed setting up a GPS system to better monitor and locate water leaks and breaks. There were no phosphorus payments to the DNR in August. The DPW removed weeds from the pond covers as well as seedlings. They are continuing to trim low hanging branches on city streets to make room for the city trucks.
Michelle Kind reported that the city received an Election Grant for $1,200 which will be added to the funds needed to allow for new computers for the office and security training. CDC will also be able to have city computer and security backup. She would like to increase the on-line banking knowledge for our utility residents. A flyer should be coming out soon to explain the process. Late fees will start again for balances due as the COVID restrictions have been lifted. She would like to meet with each department head to see if there are any adjustments to accounts or journal entries to do etc. to better prepare for 2021 budgeting.
The next council meeting will be held on September 22, 2020 at 6 p.m.
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