Public Works discusses water system project costs | News, Sports, Jobs

A water main replacement project for the city of Rugby and other area water users may receive more financial assistance than expected, according to North Dakota District 14 Representative Jon Nelson.

Nelson attended a Feb. 16 meeting of the city’s public works committee at City Hall to present information he said came from his perspective as a state representative, a member of the All Seasons Water Users District Board and Payer of Water Charges in the City of Rugby.

Nelson said he became concerned when he got a call from the state water commission about an application they had approved that would partially fund the replacement of the water pipes. asbestos-cement water in the Rugby system. In the cost-sharing agreement, the state would finance 60% of the cost of replacing the asbestos-cement sections of the line. The city would agree to finance the remaining 40%.

“The project as I understand it is $8.3 million to replace the entire water pipe, right?” Nelson asked Mayor Sue Steinke, who attended the meeting.

Steinke told Nelson that the entire line would not be replaced, only the old asbestos-containing sections.

Dave Bednarz, chairman of the public works committee, said the cost of the project “seems about right.” He also confirmed that parts of the asbestos cement pipes had been replaced with newer materials due to past water main breaks.

“It would be interesting to submit this project to the (Northwest Region Water System) Advisory Committee for a capital project with NAWS, which would save city dwellers and rural dwellers a ‘have to make this payment if approved by (NAWS)’, said Nelson. “So I guess I would ask that we take that step before we go any further because that’s a funding source that would be 100% funded (through NAWS).”

The NAWS serves several municipalities in the Minot region, including All Seasons Water Users District, which purchases its water from the town of Rugby.

Nelson also expressed concerns about engineering costs. Nelson said City Engineer Jim Olson said this (project) was a wish list and there was no reason to be alarmed at the price of it. Then it comes to funding in this (commission budget of the state water), then all of a sudden I’m alarmed.

Olson did not attend the committee meeting due to illness.

Bednarz told Nelson, “I don’t think (the line replacement project) is something we’re so hot about right now. It’s on our to-do list. B and J (Excavation) said we could expect more leaks and more cost and we put it on the list. Nobody knew about NAWS until about 30 days ago. That’s when it first came to light, when Sue and Jim were on the phone.

Bednarz added: “The fact is, Jon, there is no one on this board who knows water lines and sewer lines and has the knowledge that Jim has. He brought us money through grants and different programs that none of us would have taken on.

“When we broke our water pipes on Saturday and Sunday on the north side, he wanted to come down,” Bednarz added. “I said to him, ‘No, wait until we have our committee meeting and then we’ll look at it.’ So we watch what we do. We had never had an engineer with the city before.

Bednarz has agreed to attend the NAWS Advisory Committee meeting with Nelson. The meeting is open to the public and will take place on February 28 at 1:30 p.m. at the Minot Public Works office located at 1035 31st Street SE.

In other cases, the committee filed discussions about maintaining closed water valves in the city and new technologies for locating water main breaks.

The Public Safety Committee heard an update on policing activity from Rugby Chief of Police John Rose. In January, officers responded to 95 calls, including five for traffic collisions and 18 for medical assistance. Officers issued six traffic tickets, including one for speeding, one for stopping or performance violations and four for other violations. Officers made seven arrests in January, including five for driving under the influence and two for outstanding warrants.

Public Safety Committee Chairman Wayne Trottier asked Rose if he could create a graph comparing arrests in the city over a period of years. Rose said he would look into graphical representation of information.

Trottier also asked about officer evaluation procedures. He raised his concerns at the town’s staff committee meeting later that day.

Members of the staff committee went over sections of the city’s employee handbook during their meeting. Trottier pointed out that many sections of the manual had not been updated for about 20 years.

Other updates the committee discussed included compensation time, or paid leave, for salaried City employees such as the director of the Rugby Job Development Authority. Trottier and other committee members also mentioned concerns shared by city workers about the role of city council members. The committee agreed to develop a code of ethics for members of the municipal council.

The committee’s recommendations and reports will be presented at the regular meeting of the Rugby Town Council, scheduled for 7.30pm on March 7 at the Rugby Town Hall.

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