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home : news : news Wednesday, December 17, 2014

11/14/2012 Email this articlePrint this article 
City of Low Moor to hire engineer for city hall remodeling

By Jeremy Huss
Staff writer

The Low Moor City Council last week authorized a committee investigating building improvement plans to look into architectural and engineering firms to design plans for proposed improvements to the city hall building located at 323 Third Ave.

According to city clerk Karen Roode and council member Brenda Larkey, who serve on the committee, state bidding laws require the city to have project plans and specifications prepared by a licensed architect or engineer based on the expected cost of the remodel.

The council is planning to remodel the city hall building to create office space for the city clerk and treasurer and a secure storage area for the city's paper and electronic records.

The city clerk and treasurer historically have worked at home and stored city records on their personal computers.

The council earlier this year agreed to investigate building improvements that would allow city officials to establish regular office hours and provide improved accessibility to the public.

With a population below 50,000 residents, state law requires the city to solicit quotes from at least two knowledgeable contractors for construction projects with a cost estimate of $47,000-$125,000.

The city is required to provide plans and specifications prepared by an architect or engineer and to make the plans available for review for a specified time period before quotes are due.

The contractor also must meet state requirements such as providing proof of insurance and a maintenance bond.

"The key is we have to have the plans and specs prepared by an engineer," Larkey said.

Gary Sejkora of IIW Engineers and Surveyors, who attended the meeting for other business, said the quote requirements do not apply to projects with a cost under $47,000. Formal bidding requirements apply for projects above $125,000, he said.

Although the cost of the project does not require the council to hold a formal public hearing, council members agreed to hold a community meeting to solicit input on the proposed building improvements once plans and specifications are available.

"We need to make a good faith effort. We have promised to take public input," said council member Steve Jones.

Larkey and Roode said they will meet with city maintenance employees Loren Wilkerson and Wade Thompson to discuss project ideas before proceeding.

The council approved a motion authorizing the committee to investigate architectural and engineering firms.

Roode indicated the city may look to IIW Engineers to prepare project plans and specifications since the city has worked with the firm on past projects.

Council meetings moved to community center

The proposed improvements to city hall eventually will eliminate the space currently used for monthly council meetings, forcing a move to the Low Moor Community Center.

The move is coming quicker than expected, however, due to the Oct. 7 death of former treasurer Judy Meland.

Karen Roode was appointed acting treasurer at a special meeting Oct. 11, and Deb Jones was appointed assistant treasurer.

Roode told the council she has been working to complete an inventory of city equipment and files at Meland's residence.

She requested and received authorization to hire DNS Moving to move filing cabinets and equipment from the Meland residence to city hall at a rate of $130 per hour. The work was expected to take four hours or less.

The council authorized Roode to have the locks at city hall changed in order to secure the files, since city officials believe there are multiple keys to the building in circulation and are unsure who possesses them. The cost was estimated at $200 or under.

"At that point, we could at least have all our records here in this room," Roode said.

The council also approved an expenditure of $2,756 to Midwest Computers and Consulting of Clinton for the purchase of an HP desktop computer and accessories plus data services that include transferring data from Meland's computer and Roode's old computer, which no longer functions, to the new equipment.

In addition, the council authorized transferring the city phone number, (563) 522-2290, from Meland's residence to the city hall building. Calls will be forwarded to Roode's residence until city hall offices are complete.

The council agreed to pay Roode $15 per hour for work relating to the transition of treasurer duties.

The council plans to begin meeting at the community center in December, pending availability of the facility for the regular council meeting Tuesday, Dec. 4.

Dog licensing day set for Dec. 1

The council set Low Moor's annual dog and cat licensing day for Saturday, Dec. 1, 8 a.m.-12 p.m., at the community center.

Other business

In other business, the council:

•Reviewed the city's insurance package with agent Norm Nielsen and approved an insurance renewal with Iowa Communities Assurance Pool at a cost of $3,240 per year, up from $2,986.

Nielsen said the increase is due to 4 percent inflation from growth of property values.

•Heard a report from water/wastewater superintendent Mark Roode regarding sanitary sewer cleaning that was conducted Oct. 16-18 and annual water tower cleaning completed Oct. 30.

•Approved the purchase of a new snow plow attachment from River City Pipe Benders of Clinton for $6,667.38.

•Reviewed the monthly sheriff's report showing deputies spent 56.15 hours patrolling Low Moor in October. They issued two warnings and one citation for speeding and handled two incidents and two calls.

Incidents were burglary and criminal mischief, and calls were for an open door and property retrieval.


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