Pierce City aldermen picked an engineering firm for a water project and heard a report on swimming pool usage from the Monett Area YMCA during the council's November monthly meeting.
The city has applied for a grant to do an overall engineering study of the city's water system. Federal stimulus money available for infrastructure projects would cover most of the study's cost. The study could then be used in an application for Community Development Block Grant funds to replace the city's deteriorated system of water mains.
For the first time in several months Mayor Hirsch was able to provide aldermen with a report on the amount of water pumped from wells compared to the billing. Only 29 percent of the water pumped is going into use.
"That's not acceptable at all," Hirsch said, further supporting the need to pursue grant money for a system-wide fix.
The application for a federal stimulus grant to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources required the city to specify which engineer would be used, giving them no time to seek formal bids.
Hirsch got Scott Engineering, which owes the city money for work finished but unusable well on the west side of town, to prepare the form. Mike Beaty, who is the Pierce City's engineer of record and who drafted the master plan, came to the meeting to explain the grant would cover a facility plan study.
Beaty guessed the engineering study would cost around $20,000. The city would have to provide a 10 percent match. According to Hirsch, the city had a good chance of getting the grant money considering the number of applicants.
Aldermen decided to apply for funding and to name Scott Engineering for the project. If approved, the grant would pay for an analysis of Beaty's master plan toward the goal of replacing the city's water lines. To complete a system upgrade, Hirsch said the city would also need another water tower to make the west well work and a better system to get the three wells to work together.
Gordon Brown, executive director of the Monett Area YMCA, brought aldermen a summary of activity at the municipal swimming pool this past summer. It was the first year the YMCA had been involved. The city paid the YMCA $6,000 to operate the pool, which the city is paying over time in calendar year 2009.
"We very quickly realized how important a pool can be [to a community]," Brown said. "We enjoyed it."
Financially, the operation ended up around $6,000 in the red. The YMCA netted nearly $3,000 from the sale of concessions, and had an electric bill that was significantly bigger than expected. Almost no one took swim lessons, preferring instead to go to Monett to be part of a larger group. Brown found that interesting, since often people prefer smaller classes to get individual attention.
The YMCA increased pool parties by making one-hour blocks available instead of just two-hour parties. The aquasize program, offered twice a week, had an average of 10 participants.
Brown proposed the YMCA manage the pool next year for $8,000. The YMCA could absorb the loss based on additional memberships in Pierce City, and the value of adding the pool as a service to its members. Brown said the council would need to decide by April.
Ordinance, spending action
In other business, aldermen voted to have a repeater installed on the storm siren at North Park, which has been activated manually. The repeater from downtown, missing for several years, was found at Joplin Electric. Cost to repair and install the device was set at $250.
Aldermen voted to place the city-owned lot on Golubski Avenue up for bid. Cost to tear down the house located on it and one mowing a month over the decade the city has had the land brought the investment up nearly $11,500.
According to Clerk Julie Johnson, the property has accessible water and sewer service. Bids will be opened at the December meeting.
Hirsch reported all paperwork completing the annexation of right-of-way for Highway 97 north to Highway 60 has been filed with the Missouri Department of Transportation.
Having completed an inspection of the city hall with the contractor, Hirsch reported there were definitely structural issues that needed to be addressed. The architect was being brought in on the matter. A report would be ready for aldermen at the December meeting, the mayor said.
All the city's generators passed inspection, Hirsch said. The generator at the wastewater treatment plant, dating from 1961, needed valves or pistons replaced. Extended use during ice storms had probably caused the problems, according to the inspecting mechanic.
Hirsch planned to find out exactly what would be needed to move the generator originally from the decommissioned #2 well to the wastewater plant as a replacement. The oversized well generator has been kept in storage since its repair after the 2003 tornado.
Police Chief Mike Abramovitz reported officers responded to only seven calls in October. Two resulted in arrests on warrants.