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New Water Plant Moves Forward

00:00 AM November 16, 2017

The city took the first step towards the construction of a new water plant at their November meeting by hiring Willett Hofmann and Associates to do the project. Fehr-Graham Engineering and Environmental, based in Freeport, Illinois, had also presented a proposal. Both companies had made presentations to the Council over the past few months. Willet Hoffman has done several projects with the city, most recently an upgrade to the sewer plant. The project did have a cost overrun, but Mayor Swanson felt they did the best they could to rectify the situation.


Fehr Graham has also done several projects with the city, the latest in 2012 when they installed liners in much of the city sewer lines. Both companies have good reputations and made very similar proposals. Mayor Swanson and Public Works Director Brian Strike both favored Willett Hoffman based on previous experiences. Discussion before the vote lasted  about 15 minutes. The vote to award the project to Willett Hoffman was 5 to 1 with aldermen Daryl Drennen voting no. The cost of the project is estimated between $3.6-$3.8 million.


The new city water plant will be located near the current
water tower. The exact site will be determined after test
drilling is done.

There was also discussion concerning the location of the new plant in relationship to the water tower. The city has purchased property at the end of Buttercup Lane and also owns Jaycee Park on Jackson Street, both of which will be considered. The final decision will not be determined until test wells can be drilled to determine the best location.


As plans for a new city water plant progress the Council discussed the possibility of raising water rates for residents. Mayor Swanson said the cost of the project would be approximately $4 million with the city hopefully receiving $500,000 in forgiveness from the EPA loan. If the city gets the loan at the current interest rate of 1.75% for 30 years it would take an increase of approximately $12 per month per household to pay off the loan of approximately $3.5 million.


Ald. Dan Baker commented that an increase of that amount would still keep Prophetstown water rates much lower than surrounding communities. Swanson pointed out that the five dollar surcharge applied to sewer rates several years ago has paid for the sewer plant updates. The Council was asked to consider the proposal, but no action was taken.


The Council gave its approval for Sharon Pepin with Community Funding and Planning Services, to proceed with a grant proposal to help fund the replacement of the sanitary lift station on the south edge of the city along highway 78.  The preliminary cost for replacing the unit is $240,000.


The city will apply for a state grant, with the help of Willett and Hoffman, for costs involved in demolishing condemned buildings. The grant may also reimburse the city for its costs for demolishing properties in the past. The next property slated for demolition is 510 Washington Street.


Permission was given to the Henry C. Adams Memorial Library to open investment accounts at Farmers National Bank and Edward Jones. The library was the beneficiary of a large donation and they would like to invest part of the funds. The city will receive copies of all financial transactions.


The Mayor announced the city had received $5,000 from the Moore Foundation to be used to purchase new school zone signs for the elementary and high school. The signs will be solar powered and have flashing lights that will be on timers. The exact cost of the signs is still being determined and the Council hopes to approve the purchase in December.


The library reported that Pat Crump has been hired as a libraryaide and will also do janitorial duties. Librarian Elizabeth Swatos will be conducting training sessions for the library aides to train them on the new PrairieCat Lending System. Student visits to the library from the Prophetstown Elementary school will resume in December. The library board also requested to get on the city’s weekly trash pickup and would like to install a garbage can next to the book depository.


Police and Public Works Reports


Other Action Taken:

  • Voted to approve the annual audit conducted by Halpin and Associates.
  • Accepted the bid on the city owned property at 210 W. 3rd St. of $1,501.
  • A motion to approve a liquor license for Pizza Joe’s was tabled due to lack of documentation.
  • Passed a motion for filing paperwork involving motor fuel tax.
  • Approved a draft of the levee which will be formally adopted in December.
  • Approved payment to the Illinois Municipal League Risk Management Association for insurance coverage and Workmen’s Compensation. The cost is approximately $61,000.
  • Quick discussion was held about putting a door between the lobby and city offices.


The next council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, December 12th at 7:00 p.m.


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