Construction of towers delayed
The construction of Baldwin's two new water towers has been put on hold, at least until the next Baldwin City Council meeting.
The city received four bids on the construction of the two towers, with the lowest from Phoenix Fabricators and Erectors at $1.2 million, which is $300,000 less than originally projected, for multi-legged, steel towers. It would cost an extra $200,000 for column elevated water storage tanks.
But the city council was not ready to approve the bid without knowing what affect it would have on residents' water rates and tabled a bid approval until the Nov. 4 council meeting.
"Personally, I don't want to approve anything without it in writing what it will do to the rates," Council Member Ted Brecheisen said. "We don't know what it's going to cost us as far as the rate payers. I can't spend $2 million and not know what it's going to cost to pay for it."
Utility Director Terry McKinney said the estimated increase for the average customer would be about $2 a month, as long as the cities of Edgerton and Wellsville, which are supplied water from Baldwin, participated in the cost of the new towers.
McKinney said if Edgerton and Wellsville did not help with the cost of the towers, the average customer would pay about $5 a month.
"We don't have the final rate increase because we don't know what Wellsville and Edgerton are going to do," he said.
Baldwin requested answers from the two towns by next week.
Council Member George McCrary said he wasn't sure why the two neighboring towns could decide whether they would help with the cost.
"I'm really not understanding how they have an option on that when we control their water," McCrary said.
City Attorney Bob Bezek said it depended on the contract the city had with Wellsville and Edgerton.
"The question is whether the costs are included in the current contract or whether we need a new contract," Bezek said.
The issue was discussed further in executive session as attorney-client privilege under Bezek's advice.
"The contract's public," he said. "The legal analysis isn't necessarily public unless you release it."
The council decided to delay any decision until the next council meeting.
The city had hoped to have at least one tower in place by the time the new elementary school was completed in August, but delay on a decision will hold up the construction project.
"I understand there's a time frame with the school district," McCrary said. "I'm not trying to stop this project, but I don't want to over commit on the $1 1/2 million project."
In other business, the city council:
Discussed the ownership of the infrastructure at FireTree Estates. It was decided that Baldwin owns and maintains the infrastructure and if FireTree Estates developer Jerry Donnelly disagrees, he must prove otherwise.
Approved in a 4-0 vote an ordinance requiring two readings of future ordinances before they can be passed. Council Member Marilyn Pearse was absent from the meeting.
Approved in a 4-0 vote a resolution granting a 10-year declining balance tax abatement to Vintage Park Assisted Living Center for its new addition.
Placed the item extending the charter ordinance that changed the council's quorum on the next meeting's agenda.
Placed the item allocating final costs of the Chapel Street benefit district on the next meeting's agenda.
Met in executive session for 50 minutes to discuss personnel and attorney-client privilege. The council heard former Baldwin police officer Charles Woolsoncroft's appeal regarding his recent termination. No action was taken by the council following executive session.