Big-ticket projects dominate council
Thursday, August 03, 2017
Infrastructure projects planned
By MATT MILNER
OTTUMWA — Another light agenda allowed the city council to sprint through its Tuesday meeting, but some big-ticket projects led to an impressive price per minute.
Road work and renovations to Canteen Alley totaled more than $1.45 million. None of the projects were new. Work on Fox Sauk Road, Osage Drive, the mini-roundabout at North Ferry Street and Richmond Avenue, and the alley was all previously approved by the council.
But construction is a multi-step process for cities, and on Tuesday council members signed off on the contracts and other documents. The average spent for those four projects in the 18-minute meeting: $80,757 per minute.
That’s not the way the projects will be paid off, of course. Fox Sauk Road is due for reconstruction, as is Osage Drive. The price tags for those are $277,803 and $305,957, respectively.
Canteen Alley is a different matter. At $645,000, it’s a considerably more expensive project. More than 80 percent of it is covered by a grant, with other city funds covering the remainder. The work aims to make the area around Ottumwa’s landmark Canteen more attractive to foot traffic, using decorative features and permeable pavers.
A grant will also cover most of the cost of the mini- roundabout.
All of that construction is in th! e future, though. After the meeting, Public Works Director Larry Seals said one of Ottumwa’s longest- running construction projects is not quite finished.
There is a small amount of work still needed to complete the Market Street Bridge, and the company still needs to be able to get under the bridge to finish it off. That explains why the ramp over the flood wall at Bridge View is still in place.
While the vast majority of Tuesday’s meeting focused on infrastructure, Mayor Tom Lazio did suggest at the end that the council examine the compensation and time off allowed for members of the Ottumwa Police Department.
"Our police are being picked off because other communities can give them a better work schedule," he said.
The issue is not a new one for Ottumwa or other! similarly-sized communities.
Matt Milner can be reached at email@example.com and followed @mwmilner.