Jeff council okays purchase of generators for lift stations

Moves forward toward development agreement for new veterinary clinic

When a twisting storm in Jefferson last April caused a city-wide power failure that lasted several hours, the city wastewater crew was afraid untreated sewage would flood into the river or back up into homes. The Jefferson city council at its Sept. 25 meeting took steps to allay that worry in the future.

The council approved the purchase of a permanent generator with an automatic switch for the Grimmell Road lift station, and a portable generator that can be used at all the other lift stations. The Grimmell Road station is the largest of the city’s lift stations, and more than half the city’s wastewater flows through it.

The $180,000 cost includes extending natural gas to the Grimmell Road location and the electrical work needed to hook the other lift stations to a generator. Additionally, transfer switches will be installed at most of the city wells so they, too, could be powered by a generator.

The city council also took the first step in approving a development agreement with veterinarian Mark Peters for the new facility he is building on Gallup Road east of the Super 8 hotel. The agreement is a standard agreement used with other developers.

The city’s standard agreement requires the project have a minimum assessed value of $450,000. Total payments will not exceed $100,000 over seven years. The payment is subject to an annual appropriation by the city council.

A development agreement is available only for economic development purposes. According to Peters, the new 4,000 square-foot facility will have space for in-clinic treatment of livestock, bringing people into Jefferson. It will also make it easier for him to recruit a second veterinarian to the practice. He is currently the only practicing veterinarian in the county.

The council set Oct. 23 at 5:30 pm as the date and time of a public hearing on the development agreement.

The council also approved the first reading of ordinances to once again increase water and sewer rates by 3 percent. The increase in water rates represents a 32-cent increase per month on the base water rate, and a 52-cent increase per month on the base sewer rate.

The vote on the ordinances was 3-1, with Matt Gordon casting the dissenting votes. (Harry Ahrenholtz was absent.) Gordon said after the meeting that he didn’t have enough information about the need for the increases to vote for them.

The council approved the appointment of Eldon Cunningham to the fire department. Cunningham retired as fire chief four years ago after serving on the department for 44 years. Fire chief Jack Williams said Cunningham will serve primarily to maintain safety at fire scenes and to keep some of the newer firefighters on task.

The council approved an application for a Federal Recreational Trails grant for the multi-use trail from the Milwaukee Road depot to the municipal cemetery on E. Lincoln Way. The grant application for $168,000 is being written by Region XII Council of Governments.

The city recently received a $10,000 grant for the project from Union Pacific Railroad. According to city administrator Mike Palmer, the Federal Recreational Trails grant would provide the remainder of the funds needed for the trail.

Jefferson park and recreation director Vicky Lautner and Steve Wiese of ACCO presented the JPRD board’s recommendation that a liner be placed in the city swimming pool rather than repairing and repainting it. Total cost would be $86,517. The liner would last about 15 years and would not need to be painted every year. The item will be placed on the agenda for the Oct. 9 meeting.

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