VC nixes River Project

Due to a small clerical error, the Valley City city commission rejected all bids for the Main Street riverbank restoration project, and the project will be put up for rebidding.

The error was in the bid notification publication done by the South Central Dakota Regional Council. The project was originally put up for bid Aug. 31, and the new bid will be awarded later this month.

Chad Petersen of city engineering firm Kadrmas, Lee and Jackson said the city needs to consider that the new bids may have additional costs associated with the colder weather.

The emergency repairs will fix a portion of the riverbank along the 200 block of West Main Street that had fallen into the river ålast winter A sizable portion of dirt and vegetation west of the retaining wall along Main eroded away as a results from flooding in 1009 and 2011.

Mayor Bob Werkhoven was not pleased with the rebid.

“It was such an emergency to start with and we get all this help, and this it falls flat on its face,” he said.

Larger bills for water, sewer and garbage service could be in the cards for Valley City residents.

Duanne Magnuson is encouraging the city to start charging residents what it costs to provide the services.

The city commissioner said the city was losing money on water, sewer and garbage, “and I feel our rates are low” for providing the services. Magnuson was speaking at a Tuesday city commission finance committee meeting.

At the same time, Magnuson said, the electrical services fund has a surplus which can cover loses in the other three categories.

Commissioners agreed to transfer $1 million from the electric fund, which is about $10 million in the black.

Magnuson said the transfer would include $750,000 to be transferred to the general fund for property tax relief.

The other $250,000 would cover needed upgrades.

Electric Superintendent Stan Hansen said his service would need about $1.2 million to upgrade electrical meters and another estimated $250,000 in substation upgrades.

The upgrades would help Valley City to advise customers to use more power when rates would be lower.

Magnuson said the water, sewer and garbage funds were short about $3 million and the electric fund is about $10 million in the black.

City Commissioner Madeline Luke said it was a good idea to let city residents know where money for property tax relief is coming from.
Magnuson said the city was doing a disservice to residents by not passing on cost increases as they happen.

The city also agreed to add four houses, whose owners have either expressed interest or signed purchase agreements, to the 2012 property buyout program.

The four houses will technically be between the first two phases of the program. Two of the four houses were damaged by fire earlier this year, and the city will be buying the land only.

Electric Superintendent Stan Hansen filled in city commissioners on a design contract for a needs downtown substation upgrade.

Hansen said the city’s oldest electrical substation is about 40 years old, and needs inspection and upgrades to circuit breakers. “I would really like to see some protection in there.”

Hansen noted a Sept. 25 power outage in portions of the city was a result of a bird knocking out a circuit breaker outside the Ace Hardware store.

“Somehow the bird got into the transformer and started an arc,” Hansen said Sept. 26.

Hansen said the result of the breaker operating was “it took out the whole north side of the city.” Hansen said the maximum engineering cost for the work would be $39,000. “I don’t know what the relay (circuit breaker) would cost.”

City Administrator David Schelkoph said a $1,090.84 change order for the water treatment plant is needed because of a change in furniture costs.