Roland storm sewer easements finally sent out

Todd ThorsonStaff

The Roland Council was informed that Veenstra & Kimm, Inc. has sent out the final easement offers for the Samson Street Sanitary Sewer Project. One of the offers includes a portion of agricultural property owned by Lon Strum. Strum is not agreeable with the current offer, and it was stated, at the regular council meeting on Wednesday night (July 6) at the Roland Community Center, that he would not sign the easement until certain issues are resolved with contractor J & K. The concensus of the council was also that J & K has not been acting favorably through the process, and that it is now an issue between Strum and J & K and not the city. At the June 15 meeting the city had originally thought they may have to intervene and become more involved in the negotiation process. One other in-town easement remains to be signed as well. Appraisals for the two properties are scheduled to be completed soon. The city will also be moving forward with the condemnation process.

Strum, who was not present at last Wednesday’s meeting, was in attendance with several other citizens at the June 15 meeting, when the public hearing on the acquisition of agricultural and other propery was held. Strum originally had said he would be hesistant to sign an easement if J & K was allowed to bid on the project. He has had previous issues with J & K during a current project.

Council member Jerry Zamzow was also concerned about allowing J & K into the bidding process for the new sanitary sewer project, stating following the July 5 meeting that “we can’t restrict bidders, but according to Iowa law regarding the competitive bid process, the Council is required to review bidders qualifications as a ‘responsible contractor’, and that past performance would be a factor in this decision.”

The agricultural easement offer that was presented to Strum was calculated based on the same formula as the other in-town property easements, and also included potential crop loss, a longer route of the sewer line to by-pass as much crop land as possible and the removal of all trees. Council hopes the issue with Strum is resolved soon.

The timeline for the Sanitary Sewer Project was also set, with eminent domain proceedings to be completed hopefully this month, and construction to begin sometime after Thanksgiving.

In other business, the council:

—was informed that the new swimming pool heater is working properly. Mechanical Comfort of Ames resplaced the heater in late June at a cost of $16,375.

—was informed that the tornado siren is also working. A new siren control box was installed last month at a cost of $6,440.42. The siren had not been functional for several months.

—hired new utility billing clerk Janelle Whaley at an hourly rate of $10.50, with an increase to $11.00 after a satisfactory 90-day review period.

—agreed to close half of the North Main Street parking on the west side for the Memorial Ride for Connie Innis fund raising event at the Roland Legion on July 23 from 9 a.m. to midnight.The legion will provide barricades and fencing for the area to be closed.