November 27, 2013

Council ponders 2014 projects

By Jerry W. Kram

With the weeks in year rapidly fleeting, the New Town City Council mulled over plans for projects it hopes to accomplish in the New Year.
One of the big projects that will be going on in the coming year will be the expansion of the water plant on West Avenue south of Main Street. Deon Stockert with AE2S Engineering went over some options with the city council for the capacity and equipment. The first option Stockert discussed was replacing the current Chemco water softening system with one manufactured by a company called RDF. Stockert said the RDF system would be slightly more expensive $750,000 but that the extra cost would be made up with decreased chemical use and lower disposal costs for spent lime. The 2-unit treatment system will be able to handle both the existing water production lines as well as the expansion.
The council voted to replace the current water treatment system with RDF system. The new equipment should be installed by March or April. Stockert added that some of the cost of the project can be recovered by selling the Chemco treatment units to another city. Minot is interested in purchasing the units, he added.
Stockert then outlined the city’s options for building the addition to the water treatment plant. The original proposal was to build the expansion as a mirror image of the current plant, with room for two 450 gallon per minute production lines. One line would built immediately, bringing the plant’s capacity to 1,350 gpm and the other line would be added when demand warranted.
Stockert told the council that for about the same price as adding the 450 gpm line, they could build a 900 gpm line. The larger system would fit in the same space as the two 450 gpm lines. He said that either system would fit the specifications of the Energy Impact Grant from the State of North Dakota that will be funding the bulk of the project.
“If we can get double the capacity for about the same price, I would say that’s a no-brainer,” said Councilman Darrell Salter.
The council voted to have AE2S proceed with the 900 gpm design for the water plant expansion project.
In other actions, the council opened bids for the development of Outlot 2 on Sand Hill. The only proposal received was from the Native Builders Group, which offered to exchange two duplexes for the 39 lots in the development. The council has been asking for eight to 10 units it can use for employee housing. The council voted to reject the bid. The council discussed how to proceed with the development of Outlot 2, including selling the lots to individuals. The council tabled further consideration until its December meeting.
The council heard a report from Roxene McPhail of the North Dakota Department of Transportation. McPhail said the Department had started negotiations for rights of way along North Dakota Highway 1804 for its widening and upgrade that will be done in the summer of 2014.
“We only have a short time to get this done,” McPhail said. “So there are going to be a lot of negotiators in New Town for the next couple of weeks.”
McPhail said the department’s goal was to have the rights of way in place by the end of the year. She also had three requests for the city council. She asked the council for its approval of the project plan. Second, she asked the council to donate an easement on land it owned near the old Rodeo Grounds. Finally, she asked for city approval to relocate a driveway that was part of the reconstruction plan. The council approved the three measures.
City coordinator Daryl Lyson reported that city operations were running well. He noted that with the completion of two new hotels next spring plus other developments, the garbage department will likely have to run both of the city’s garbage trucks every day. Lyson said the city will have to hire more employees to handle the increased workload.
The council approved a request to rezone the Hidatsa Hills area from agricultural to residential. The area is outside of city limits but within the city’s half mile extraterritorial zoning area.
The council hear a report from Council member Bill Oliver that Wildcat Mineral has cleaned the drains that had been filled by frack sand from its operations. The council approved sending Wildcat Minerals a letter stating that it was in compliance.

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