City explores possibility of loan for buyouts

The Valley City City Commission explored the possibility of loaning itself $1 million from the Public Works department for permanent flood protection funding Monday night.

“The immediate need is from May to the end of August when these buyouts will occur,” said Commissioner Matt Pedersen. “The ball is in motion, and I would like to see us come to an agreement that we’re willing to borrow the million and in parallel, research the various mechanisms to pay it back.”

“This million dollars we’re looking to raise for permanent flood protection is Valley City’s local share,” said Commissioner Jon Wagar.
Mayor Bob Werkhoven said he would like to do anything to avoid another mill levy.

“We’re kind of in a bind, and to pay back we’re going to have more thrashing,” he said. “There’s going to be a lot of pain for everybody. We need to go ahead with this.”

The commission will wait to take action until the loan can be further researched and the details shared with the public. Utility fee assessments were also discussed as an option for raising money.

In a road construction update, the Ninth Avenue reconstruction bid opening was pushed back to May due to the delay of the federal highway bill.

“There are some concerns whether or not the whole project could be constructed within the remainder of the construction season,” said Chad Petersen of Kadrmas, Lee and Jackson. “I think it’s doable, but it might be a good idea to break the project into two different phases.”

He proposed that the portion from Pioneer Park north to Twelfth Street be one segment and everything south to Main Street be another, so if both portions couldn’t be completed in one season, there would be minimal inconvenience to traffic and residents. The north segment would be first in line, as it is in the worst shape.

“If the contractor wanted to tackle the whole thing, they could do that, but we want to be sure to have (set) dates in there so we’re not paving in November and December,” Petersen said.

The commission also approved $10,000 in small project funding for Valley Development Group, and approved Daryl Stensland as the new assistant fire chief.