The North Bend Eagle

 


Council preps for next crisis as it deals with last crisis

by Nathan Arneal
Published 3/25/20

The North Bend City Council met twice last week, the first time last Sunday, March 15, for an emergency meeting to discuss concerns over the coronavirus pandemic with the city’s emergency manager Waylon Fishcer.

The council approved of a press release Fischer was going to submit to the North Bend Eagle. The full text of the release can be read at NorthBendEagle.com.

It was decided to keep city hall open, but to keep the door locked to limit clerk Theresa Busse’s exposure to people. Business will be conducted over the phone, e-mail or through the drop slot.

The city auditorium will be used as a command center if the need arrises. The council decided that no water access will be shut off to homes because of lack of payment during the corononavirus crisis but all fees would continue.

The council reconvened Tuesday, March 18, for its regular meeting. Julie Ogden with city engineering firm JEO gave the council updates on several flood repair projects.

The council accepted a bid for $1.12 million for street repairs to flood-damaged streets. Another bid was accepted for $172,308.50 for repairs to flood-damaged culverts and ditches. The majority of funds for both projects will come from FEMA.

A bid for a third project for repairs to 23 manholes came in more than double the JEO estimates. Ogden said she guessed the bid was high because contractors are booked through 2021. The city and JEO may change the bid request and eliminate some of the requested work to get the costs down to fit the city’s budget and what FEMA will pay for. That bid was rejected.

Odgen said work on the river levee southwest of North Bend is almost complete. She said she will hopefully have a final payout for the project at one of the April council meetings. Because the levee is classified as a major project, the city cannot request FEMA funds until it is complete.
Odgen also presented the plans to overlay Walnut Street from Ninth to 14th streets, which is part of phase three of the flood street repairs. The current asphalt, which is crumbling in several places, will be milled away and replaced.

The council gave approval for JEO to seek bids for the Walnut Street project.

The city’s contract is due for renewal with PeopleService, the company that operates the city’s water and sewer system.

The council expressed displeasure with thoroughness of the reports they get from PeopleService.

The city had recently received a letter from state officials listing several deficiencies in the condition of the water plant and the reports and paperwork being filed on it.

“When you go out there and the grease gun is covered with more dust than anything in the building, that’s a maintenance thing,” councilman Dan Minarick said. “If we don’t maintain it and it doesn’t hold up, we’re talking millions of millions of dollars to start over.”

Councilman Alex Legge suggested having a JEO engineer inspect the plant occasionally to make sure it’s being properly maintained.

“That would be money well spent,” Legge said, “if we start getting the maintenance we need and don’t have to put money into our sewer plant so often.”

The council also gave a third and final reading to Ordinance 575, which will raise basic sewer rates by $3 a month. The usage rate was increased from $1.10 to $1.50 for every thousand gallons of water used. The ordinance passed.

 

Note: The final paragraph has been corrected from the printed version published. The rate change was to the sewer rate, not the water rate as printed in the paper.

 

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