Anodized poles require more maintenance than spun aluminum
By Bert Lehman
Aesthetics versus maintenance costs were front and center in a discussion at the Clintonville City Council meeting on Tuesday, June 9, regarding light poles to be installed in the future.
Interim City Administrator Chuck Kell addressed the council about the street lights that will be installed from 13th Street to State Highway 156 in the second phase of reconstruction on Main Street.
He said the current plan is for brown anodized light poles to be installed. These poles are painted. The poles would be similar to the poles installed on the south end of Main Street.
Kell said he brought this issue to the council because the paint is coming off the current brown anodized light poles in the city and they are starting to rust.
“Maintenance-wise there is a cost, a long term cost to that,” Kell said.
He added that some of the city staff felt they didn’t get enough input regarding the decision to go with that type of light pole.
“I just want to revisit that to make sure that’s the way you want to go,” Kell said.
A lot of communities have spun aluminum poles installed because they require less maintenance, he added. These poles are not painted.
Kell said if the city wants to change the type of light poles to be installed, that change needs to be made now.
Kell acknowledged that part of the reason the brown anodized poles were chosen was probably because the poles are less noticeable and they will be installed in the historic area of the city.
Both Toby Kersten, Public Works director, and Brian Ellickson, Electric Utility manager, agreed the spun aluminum poles would require less maintenance.
A motion was made and seconded to change the plan to include spun aluminum light poles.
During discussion, Alderman Brad Rokus asked who initially made the decision to go with anodized brown light poles if city staff didn’t make that decision.
Kell said he believed the previous director of public works and the previous city administrator made the decision. Kell said he wasn’t sure if it was discussed at a council meeting, but it was discussed at some community meetings that were held regarding the project.
Rokus said he wanted to know if the decision was based on input from the areas of the city that would have the light poles installed.
“That was part of the decision,” Kell said.
Council President Lois Bressette also expressed concern about the landscape in the area and how spun aluminum light poles will look when some of the trees are cut down on Main Street for the project.
“I think there is no question the brown anodized poles are going to be more attractive when they are put in initially,” Kell said. “The real question is, what do they look like 15 years down the road? And does the city have the funds to keep them looking nice over time? I looked at them today and there are some that are looking pretty bad already.”
The council voted 5-3 to switch the plan to include spun aluminum light poles from 13th Street to Highway 156. Rokus, Bressette, and Alderman Jim Krause voted no. Alderwomen Gloria Dunlavy and Jeannie Schley were excused from the meeting. The motion needed six votes to pass, so the plan will remain to have brown anodized light poles installed.
Kell also addressed the council about the increasing cost estimates for the second phase of the Main Street reconstruction project.
“The costs have changed significantly from a year ago,” Kell said.
He said the last version of the State-Municipal Agreement for the 2017 Main Street project was signed in July 2014.
Since then, Kell said the estimated cost of the project has increased by a little over $1 million. Federal funding toward the project increased by $493,500, while the municipal funds needed for the project increased $585,600.
“The big driver in that is the utilities,” Kell said.
He said the city really doesn’t have a choice in the matter, but he wanted the council to be aware of the increases. He said the council needed to approve the agreement because the state is waiting for it.
Alderman Steve Kettenhoven asked where the funds will come from.
Kell said the city will have to borrow money or take some funds out of the capital balance.
The council approved the updated agreement 8-0.
Kersten informed the council about a possible land donation from Nolan Sales.
Kersten said the land in question is located on Morning Glory Drive in the cul-de-sac areas.
It’s kind of oddly shaped,” Kersten said.
He added he got involved because the grass wasn’t being mowed behind the houses. After discussion with Nolan, they asked if the city would be interested in receiving the land as a donation for a park. The amount of land is just less than 12 acres.
Alderwoman Mary-Beth Kuester asked if the land was usable as a park.
“I would say probably not,” said Justin Mc Auly, Parks and Recreation director for the city of Clintonville.
Mc Auly added that there are already two playgrounds across the road from that property.
Alderman Darrell Teall asked if it was possible to divide the land and offer it to the homeowners.
Kersten said that was a possibility.
Alderman John Wilson asked how much the property taxes are on the property.
“Overall its just under $1,700. The portion of that that belongs to the city of Clintonville is $652 per year,” said Kell.
“I don’t think we should be taking on anymore property in this city,” Wilson said. “We got to get the taxes we got coming, not just keep on having people donate stuff to us. I think that’s a poor policy. The city owns enough land.”
Rokus said if were a market to divide up the land and sell it to neighboring homeowners, the current property owners would have explored that option.
“I have a feeling that it’s more difficult than what it’s worth to him, which would probably mean the same for us,” Rokus said.
The council unanimously rejected the land donation offer.
Financial management plan
Kell informed the council that the financial management plan is currently being worked on.
“I’ve worked with the department heads to update the city’s capital improvement plan through the year 2020,” Kell said. “I’ve tried to get some of the departments to work closer together on some of the issues.”
Kell said he approached this as capital improvement program and figures it is something the council will determine the city can’t afford.
“But I want Ehlers to tell you what that’s going to cost because it addresses needs that you have,” Kell said. “It addresses rebuilding some of your streets and some of your infrastructure that has been left unattended to for many, many years.”
Kell said he’d like the city to develop a plan to replace a street or a couple blocks every year.
“Another 10-15 years of this and you’re going to be in a world of hurt,” Kell said. “You’ll never catch up.”
Once the estimates are presented, then the city can develop a program to address its needs.
“Right now you kind of have a program that until something breaks you don’t work on it, and that’s not going to bode well for you in the long run,” Kell said.
Kell said it would probably be a month before that report is concluded.
The council unanimously approved the operational plan for the swimming pool recommended by the Park and Recreation Committee.
The committee recommended opening the pool on June 13 and closing on Aug. 22. It will be open six days a week from 1:30 to 7:30 p.m. with a half hour break for workers. The pool will be closed on Wednesdays.
Memorial Day activities
Tom Martin, president of the village of Embarrass addressed the council about Memorial Day activities. He said the village of Embarrass would like to offer its services for the Memorial Day parade and festivities.
“We got a lot of negative feedback from our community,” Martin said about this year’s event.
Kuester said she was appointed by the mayor to be the chairperson for planning the Memorial Day activities. She added that she works with the VFW and the Legion, with the groups alternating each year.
Kuester added that she had planned to schedule a follow-up meeting for the following week to discuss Memorial Day activities.