Trenton City Council gets wrench tossed into works regarding water tower painting

City of Trenton Website

Five ordinances were adopted last night by the Trenton City Council then a lengthy discussion ensued when it was revealed the water tower painting contractor is only working on the exterior of the two towers, not inside and outside as city officials say they believed to be the case.

City Administrator Ron Urton said a 2016 agreement the city had with Burns and McDonnel involved the engineer developing plans to sandblast and paint the two water towers inside and out. Urton explained when Burns and McDonnel provided specifications for contractor bidding, it only mentioned sandblasting and painting of the two water towers. City officials apparently assumed that included inside and outside, however, the contractor, Ozark Applicators, said their $660,000 bid was exterior work only on the two water towers.

That bid was accepted at a January council meeting with the discrepancy coming to light during a pre-construction meeting. Burns and McDonnel had a representative present for last nights’ council meeting who accepted, on behalf of the company, responsibility for the error. Urton said the contractor is moving in equipment to begin work on Iowa Boulevard tower.

An inspection will need to be done as to what interior work may be needed at both towers. This includes looking for any corrosion. Burns and McDonnel is working up the plans regarding inspections inside the water towers. The cost of inspections, plus any work recommended, is not known. The city bid the two water tower projects together, Iowa Boulevard and Princeton Road, in an effort to save costs on a contractor mobilizing equipment to Trenton.

The city council was reminded of its affirmative votes from last year to increase water and electric rates. The increases, which go into effect with May usage, are 8-1/2% for water and 3% for electricity. The water rate increase is needed for water tower work as well as replacing water mains along 17th Street and Harris Avenue to, in part, improve fire protection. The electric rate increase is needed for maintenance and materials for the system plus distribution improvements.

The proposed increase in sewer rates at Trenton has been put on hold for a few months to allow time to see what usage will be like with Nestle operating the ConAgra plant. The amount of the next increase in sewer rates will be somewhat dependent on the extent of required improvements to be made at the wastewater treatment plant.  Plans call for upgrades that cost an estimated $4,700,000, but if headworks are included in the project, the approximate cost goes up to $6,200,000.

Regarding the upgrades, the council approved seven to one, to have Burns and McDonnel provide engineering services on a study regarding whether the sewer plants’ location is a wetland or not. The cost is $16,362, Councilman Brad Chumbley voted no.

City Administrator Ron Urton said the Army Corps of Engineers raised the issue during the effort to obtain a permit. The council approval of the expenditure, according to Urton, keeps the wastewater plant project moving forward as the city faces a July 2019 deadline with the state. Planned upgrades are in the lagoon bottoms and along Muddy Creek south of the existing waste-water treatment plant.

Votes were unanimous to approve four other ordinances facing the council.

One, as mentioned before, authorities city of Trenton to issue a maximum of $75,000,000 in taxable industrial revenue bonds to Nestle USA. This includes the acquisition of the ConAgra facility, various project improvements, and equipment. Introducing themselves last night to the city council were Nestle Plant Manager Andy Darley and Vice President of Technical and Production Tim Coughlin.

The council agreed to amend a schedule of fees for building permits, inspections, and plan reviews; voted to no longer require the Mayor to annually appoint a fire chief; and approved an ordinance with Enviro-Line Company to purchase and deliver a control panel for the Lake Manor Drive lift station. The cost is $10,485.

The attorney for the city will be asked to prepare an agreement with Green Hills Women’s Shelter regarding the city’s intention to provide materials to extend water and sewer mains to the new building site. A contractor would install the mains.

City Attorney Tara Walker said to look at the arrangement with the non-profit women’s shelter as an economic development incentive.

Councilman Brad Chumbley requested money in the police department budget for additional training of officers. Chief Tommy Wright said he’d prepare information for council consideration. Chief Wright also reported Officer Keith Vance plans to retire soon – thus leaving the department two officers short of authorized strength.

Following an executive session for real estate, the Trenton City Council voted to authorize the City Attorney to develop a rental agreement between Anderson Aviation and the City for rental of the south end of the large hanger building at the airport in Trenton.

The rent will be $200 per month for one year. The vote was unanimous among the eight council members present.According to City Administrator Ron Urton, Anderson Aviation plans to use the space vacated by LifeFlight Eagle with the exception of living quarters.

Urton said Clay Anderson resides in the Meadville area.