The Fountain Council again discussed needed repairs to the wastewater treatment plant lift station pump at the February 7 meeting. The current pump issues have been known for some time. There is no backup for it should it go out entirely.
At the meeting, via conference call, was Mike Morris from MMS Environmental, with whom the city contracts for reporting and maintenance at the wastewater plant. Morris discussed a quote from W.W. Goetsch with two options.
Option one includes pulling the motor and repairing new seals, bearings, o-rings, and a stator rewind of the pump motor. The cost, including reinstallation of the pump, is $7,293 plus freight. The timeline calls for one to two weeks for parts and one week for the pump repair. With this option, if engineers find additional defects, the cost is subject to change, with the engineer notifying the council before proceeding with extra repairs.
Option two is the entire pump replacement with a new KSB pump like the existing unit. The cost, including labor, is $13,645 plus freight. A new pump is in stock and will arrive within days of ordering. It comes with an 18-month warranty.
Tjekpes, also joining via conference call, noted the city was required to have competing quotes for any substantial purchase. The city isn’t sure it can swing the cost of a new pump within the existing budget. Tjepkes has a meeting on February 15 with the auditors.
“We’re kind of in dire need right now, so I don’t know what we’re going to do, ‘cause if the other one goes out, we’re screwed,” cautioned Tjepkes. “Once we have an idea what’s in the reserve, we’ll go ahead and order the pumps,” she said.
Morris noted he typically utilizes W.W. Goetsch because of the reasonable cost. He wasn’t sure how long it would take to secure another quote from another company. Acting Mayor Dave Gudmundson, standing in for Mayor Tammy Danielson, who was absent, sought and received council approval to repair the pump motor and pump. Morris will seek a second quote to purchase a backup pump before the next meeting.
In other news, the council discussed a request from AT&T to lessen or buy out the current contract with the city. The firm requested the same two years ago, and at that time, the council voted to leave the contract as is. According to Tjepkes, the city was contracted by a subcontractor acting on behalf of the firm to request the changes.
Currently, the city receives $2,178 monthly in contract compensation, and AT&T is requesting to lower it to $1,680.
“The downside is, if you stretch out the payments through the lease period, it’s substantially more,” said Reisner. He noted the contract figures to a 20-year term. “They brought it up before, and it was denied at that time. It sounds sweet to get that money now, but…”
“I’d really like to talk to someone from the company, not a subcontractor,” added Tjepkes. “I think they’re hurting. There’s not as many subscribers as before, and the rent is starting to hurt.” The council tabled the issue until the March meeting.
The council did approve a request from Tjepkes for a new Assist module for the Central Square accounting program the city utilizes. Tjepkes uses the software to track general ledgers, accounts payable, payroll, and utility billing. It also helps ensure everything is balanced in checking, savings, and CDs. The cost is a $720 one-time payment and $118.50 paid annually. It includes setup and training for Tjepkes.
Tjepkes also provided an update on the conference she attended last week. “They’re really trying to push some good things through the legislature,” she noted. Small grants are pushing through for small city infrastructure. “We need to start getting our sewer pipes updated and start getting more biosolids down to the plant so we don’t need so many chemicals and bugs.”
The next regularly scheduled council meeting is Wednesday, March 6, at 7 p.m. at city hall. The public is encouraged to attend.