No drawdown required in Clintonville
By Bert Lehman
The Clintonville City Council approved hiring Ayres Associates of Eau Claire to perform the engineering required for the Pigeon River dam rehabilitation.
Ayres Associates submitted the lowest bid of $38,100, which was approved by the council at its May 10 meeting.
Three other bids were submitted. Becher Hoppe of Wausau submitted a bid of $39,055, plus optional concrete coring at an additional cost of $600 to $1,200. AECOM of Stevens Point submitted a bid of $42,000, while Robert E Lee of Hobart submitted a bid of $94,100.
In a memo prepared by Clintonville City Administrator Chuck Kell for the city council, Kell recommended Ayres Associates for several reasons.
First, Ayres conducted the most recent dam inspection, analysis and report in 2012 for the city of Clintonville and the DNR. This inspection served as the basis for the DNR’s repair orders for the dam.
Second, the project manager and structural engineer from Ayres assigned to the project are experienced in this type of work. Each has 18 years of experience.
Third, the Ayres project proposal includes a significantly higher degree of direct on-site coordination with city staff and contractor coordination than the other proposals. A minimum of five on-site project meetings with the city is part of the proposal.
“This is important because it will allow the city increased opportunity to involve Pigeon Lake Protection and Rehabilitation District in the project,” Kell said in the memo.
At the council meeting, Kell told the council that he spoke to the DNR about funding for the project in April. As of the council meeting he had not heard back from the DNR.
“I think that’s not a good sign,” Kell said.
Kell said the city will continue to proceed with the design and engineering to submit to the DNR for approval.
“If the city wants to wait for the 50 percent funding that’s available through the dam rehab program through the DNR that next submittal is in the spring of 2018,” Kell said.
“I feel we need to move forward on this since it’s past its due date. We have a responsibility to upgrade the dam as soon as we can and as best as we can with the money we have available,” said Alderman Chuck Manske.
After the vote, Kell shared with the council that how the dam will be repaired was an issue. He said Ayres intends to use cofferdams for the project.
“Now they have available temporary type of cofferdams that are actually big balloons that blow up that divert water, so they can check things out,” Kell said.
He added that one of the firms wanted to do a water drawdown in order to make the repairs to the dam. He said that was a concern of the Pigeon Lake Protection and Rehabilitation District.
“I wanted to go with a firm that felt that it could get this work done without having to have a drawdown of the lake,” Kell said.
The council approved hiring Michael C. Meyer, an attorney from Marion, to represent the city in all legal aspects of the wastewater treatment plant project. The vote was 8-0-1. Alderwoman Amy Steenbock abstained. Alderman Mark Doornink was excused from the meeting.
Kell told the council that City Attorney Keith Steckbauer informed him that he has a conflict of interest regarding the project. Kell said Steckbauer is on the board for the bank that the city has its interim financing through.
Steckbauer suggested the city hire Meyer. Kell said Meyer is willing to do this for the city.
Kell said he didn’t know what the cost would be. He added that he believed the grant the city received for the project would cover the attorney costs.
Manske asked if Meyer is qualified for the project.
Kell said Meyer has worked on a sewage treatment plant project in the past with the federal government.
“I’m sorry that I wasn’t able to do it but my big concern is because I’m on the board of directors for First State Bank, we’re the lender of record on this. My name appears on those documents. My biggest fear would be at the moment of closing this thing, somebody, somewhere catches my name on both sides of it and blows up a huge deal at the wrong time,” Steckbauer told the council. “Maybe I’m just being nervous, but that would be the worst case scenario.”
Mayor Lois Bressette asked for clarification for city ordinance 2.04(8)(C), regarding city council voting requirements.
Steckbauer said it was brought to his attention that there has been a discussion that the city requires seven yes votes to pass anything in the city council. He said the ordinance states that the majority of the council is necessary to confirm all questions.
“I believe that it means you need a majority of the members in order to pass something, so six out of 10 is the majority,” Steckbauer said. “Not seven. I’m not sure where that came from.”
Steckbauer shared examples of how other municipalities handle council voting. He said some require a majority of the quorum. He also acknowledged that there are times when a super majority is required by law.
Alderman Mike Hankins said he didn’t remember ever needing seven votes to pass something when he was previously on the council.
“It sounds like we need to clarify and maybe improve on what our ordinance is actually saying,” Hankins said.
Alderman Steve Kettenhoven said he thinks it should be the majority of the quorum since there are times when members of the council are absent. “We’ve had times in the past when the vote was 5-3 and it didn’t pass,” Kettenhoven said. “We can’t continue to do business because we’re not fairly representing the public if we’re not allowing the majority to speak.”
The council approved sending the issue to the Safety and Ordinance Committee to rewrite the ordinance to state the majority of the quorum.
The council passed 11 documents and resolutions required for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) application. The vote was 8-1 with Alderman Brad Rokus voting no.
This covers two proposals being submitted by the city. One is for the industrial park storm sewer improvement project, while the second one is for the submission of a planning grant application for a community revitalization plan.
“We’ll be able to use all the paperwork for both of them, but the consultants wanted a separate resolution adopted on each project,” Kell said.
After discussing it in closed session, the council authorized Steckbauer to move forward to protect the interests of the city as it relates to Aster.