HIGHWAY FUNDING

City borrows $8.5M for street projects

City Council votes to turn over IT support contract to Waukee firm

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FORT MADISON - The Fort Madison City Council approved the issuance of bonds Tuesday night to cover shortfalls in the Highway 61 rehabilitation project.
Council members voted 6-0 in favor of issuing bonds totalling $8.47 million to offset costs associated with the city's highway project to include the 10th to 18th streets and an overlay from 20th to 30th Streets.
The city accepted about $13 million from the state to accept ownership of the highway back in 2012.
The cost to the taxpayers for the 20-year bond initially will be $12.7 million when interest is calculated over the life of the bond.
The city does have options to pay off the bonds early, but not until at least June  1, 2032.
Interest rates on the bond will be 5% through 2030 and then 4% through the remainder of the debt life through 2042.
In City Manager David Varley's February budget session, he said work on the 10th to 18th Street section could run $6.5 million in construction and $1 million in engineering and design.
But the current climate of construction has driven costs up and the city also has  upfront costs associated with the bonds.
A State Surface Transportation grant for $1.25 million has been applied to the $8 million total project with the rest of the work coming from bond proceeds.
The project consists of reconstructing the highway along with replacing watermains, storm sewers, and sanitary sewers within the project area.
Some areas of the improvement project are already getting concrete poured. Crews with Jones Contracting out of West Point are working on both sides of the street at the same time, while leaving 13th to 15th Streets open to retail traffic in those areas.
Crews are also working on the 15th to 18th street sections at the same time and have that section of the highway closed off.
After those two sections are completed, crews will go back and complete the 12th to 15th Street sections.

City moves to new IT provider
In an unrelated issue, the council voted 6-0 to turn over the city's IT support contract to Access Systems out of Waukee. The firm has a Burlington office and recently acquired the former J&S Electronic Business Solutions last fall.
The city had been paying C.U.R.E. Solutions $4,800 per month for upgrades and monthly monitoring, service, and maintenance of the city's system.
The new contract will pay Access $5,113 for the same work.
"We think there's a few things that have been faltering a little bit, so we thought it was time to look around a  little bit and see what options we had," Varley said.
He said the firm did an analysis of the system and a recommendation report on what they found on the system.
"There are some things that need to be done in the first 30 days, some in 60 days, and then some that need done in the next 90 days," he said.
There will be some expenses of about $21,000 to do some needed immediate upgrades. The city will move to the new company on Aug. 16.
Councilman Rebecca Bowker said she was told in March of 2021 that the service from C.U.R.E was good, and asked how the service had deteriorated over that time.

In other action:
• the council approved change orders to the Marina Improvement project on the jetty wall and dredging projects, on the PORT trail from Fort Madison High School to Rodeo Park, and on the 10th to 18th Street Highway 61 project, all by 6-0 votes
• set a public hearing to auction property at 1301 Avenue I, 6-0
• sold two lots of property at 2614-2618 Avenue O to Angela Salazar for $500, 6-0
• approved yearly asphalt  and sealcoat bids to W.L.Miller Co. of Hamilton at $3.45 per square foot of asphalt and $1.20 per square foot of sealcoating.

Pen City Current, Fort Madison, David Varley, Fort Madison City Council, bonds, Highway 61 rehabilitation, Highway 61, progress, Fort Madison City Manager David Varley, Iowa, Lee County, storm sewers, sanitary sewers, watermains, IT, Access Systems, J&S Electronic Business Solutions, C.U.R.E. Solutions, Rebecca Bowker, Councilwoman Rebecca Bowker, Marina Improvement Project, PORT Trail

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