city council

Water and sewer projects top city wish list

Proposed projects estimated to cost $11.5 million

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If you are going to go, you may as well go big, according to the latest wish list from the City of De Smet. With recent funds being made available to local governments through the American Rescue Plan (ARP), other COVID relief efforts and possibly the National Build Back Better Infrastructure Plans, if it passes, there could be a substantial amount of money available to cities for improvements to their infrastructure.

Shane Waterman, an engineer for IMEG who has worked on the Brewster Street sewer line project and is currently working on the City’s Main Street Project, made a presentation to the city about water and wastewater infrastructure improvements.

In July of 2007, the city had their infrastructure evaluated, and it identified areas that needed to be addressed. Updating those reports and including them with the Main Street Project will help put the City of De Smet in line for funding the various projects needed. Various projects are currently estimated at $11.5 million dollars.

The water system proposed improvements included upsizing existing 4” cast iron and transite pipes throughout the town. Four areas of looping were identified and recommended to be done. One of the recommendations was recently finished on the city’s east side, and two others had been finished in the past. Twenty-five blocks of watermain replacement were recommended in 2007, and some locations may have already been completed.

The City of De Smet has 49,000 linear feet of watermains of assorted sizes and materials. Forty-three percent of the city’s watermains are made of modern material. Thirty-nine percent of the watermains are made of cast iron and cover 18,900 linear feet. There is 8,200 linear feet of transite pipe, and it is about 17 percent of the city distribution lines. Both the cast iron and transite need to be replaced.

In 2022, the city’s water tower will turn one hundred years old. It has the capacity of 100,000 gallons of water and was last inspected in May of 2021. No structural issues were noted. Cosmetically, it needs work, but operationally and structurally, it’s sound.

In 2007, an examination of the city’s wastewater system was completed. Some of the deficiencies seen were done, but most priority areas identified then still need updating with sewer main replacement and recommended sewer extensions.

The city recently replaced the watermain on Third Street from Prairie Avenue to Highway 25 and the looping project. Both projects cost the city a total of $1.4 million dollars.

Phasing the projects is recommended. Just the water and wastewater from the proposed Main Street Project is estimated at $700,000. A water tower replacement would cost an estimated $1.5 million. Replacement of approximately 25 blocks of cast iron and transite watermains would run around $6.3 million. Finally, replacing 12 blocks of sewer main is estimated at $3 million. Total costs for all the proposed infrastructure projects are estimated at $11.5 million.

The wastewater replacement would be divided into two projects, and the watermain replacement would be broken down into three or four projects.

Governor Kristi Noem has announced that the state has received $6.6 million in ARP to be distributed throughout the state for infrastructure projects. Projects submitted to the state will be evaluated, and funds will be distributed by the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources (DANR) and Board of Water and Natural Resources (BWNR).

Funded projects will receive a minimum 30% ARP grant of the total requested. Grants will be capped at 50% for entities with a population under 2,500. If an entity uses their ARP funds, the state will match those funds dollar per dollar up to $5 million.

To qualify, preliminary engineer reports, planning grant studies, feasibility studies and facility plans need to be made. Most South Dakota grants require an entity to have their projects “Shovel Ready” once awarded. This means the preliminary tasks have been completed, and the projects are ready to be put out for bids.

Smaller grant requests have a higher success rate of funding. With the city breaking all the needed work into smaller projects, the likelihood of a funded grant would increase.

WATER, SEWER RATES TO INCREASE

To qualify for DANR funds, entities must comply with the agency’s recommended water and wastewater rates. De Smet is currently below the recommended rates.

The city will be raising their water and wastewater rates effective January. All customers’ flat rate will increase approximately eighty-nine cents and another eighty-nine cents in June. The current rate for 1,000 gallons of water is at $3.32, and that will increase to about $5.16 and an additional $1.84 per 1,000 gallons of water used. An average customer using 1-2,000 gallons of water would see their bills increase by $4-6 dollars and another $4-6 dollars in June to meet the state requirements to qualify for state’s grant funding. Sewer line rates would see identical increases in January and June.

The council approved the first reading to amend the water and sewer rates to the above rates specified. They also approved increasing the water and sewer hookup fees. A 1” hook up for a water line was at $185 and was raised to $225. On a 2” waterline hookup, the fees used to be $275, and they were raised to $450. A hookup for a sewer line went from $100 to $175. The city has not adjusted their water and sewer rates since 2020.

FINAL CHANGES TO LOOPING PROJECT

There was a change order that increased the engineering cost of the water looping project on the city’s east side near Lyle Signs by $5,850. This was discussed and added to the agenda at the city council’s November meeting. Total cost for the project came in at $312,183. However, there was a change order decreasing the total cost by $20,235.

Waterman reported the foreman for the project was not an experienced foreman. His inexperience caused IMEG to spend more in labor in monitoring the project, and he accrued some labor costs by having personnel show up at the project with nobody from the contracting company present. This occurred several times.

Waterman submitted a bill to the city for $5,850, covering the extra labor costs his engineering firm had to cover.

Taking the extra labor costs from the change order and deducting the proposed bill shows the city still came in $14,385 less than expected.

OTHER ITEMS

• The city council approved a building permit for Seth Wallen to construct a new residence with a garage.

• Lights had been installed on the reception desk at the Event Center by Larry and Roxy Jensen, and the council wished to express their appreciation.

• Special liquor licenses for Klinkel’s III were approved by the council. The events will be Jan. 15 at the Event Center from 5 p.m. to midnight and Jan. 16 and 30 at the American Legion Hall from noon to 10 p.m.

• The city council entered into executive session about personnel for thirty minutes.

• The S.D. Department of Transportation asked the city for a temporary easement on the approach to the airport for temporary construction, and it was approved.

• The city used to provide leases at the airport with one or three-year terms. If a tenant chose to finance any improvements, the lease terms prohibited financing. The council approved increasing the lease terms to 25 years.

• Employee medical insurance increased by approximately 5%. The council felt that was not too bad, considering some nearby towns are seeing increases of 25%.

• Appraisals for November’s surplus property were reported as follows: one handicap ramp valued at $25.00, four wood chairs with leather cushions will sell for $10.00 each, four rounded back wood chairs were appraised at $10.00 each (1 is broken) and 61 traffic cones will sell for $1.00 each. The appraisals were approved by the council, and anyone interested in purchasing any items can contact city hall.

• A contract for $600 to have the hospital roof inspected annually was approved. The council requested that the same firm also inspect the Event Center annually as well.

• The first reading to amend Ordinance No. 1-6 Ward and Voting Precincts was approved. First District in Watertown recommended and submitted the changes. The council approved the first reading. Wards and voting precincts undergo a review after each United States Census is complete. The last census was completed in 2020.

• Building and Park Superintendent Jason Springer reported “everything is going good.” City crews have been one man short for a while, and all employees are picking up the slack.

• The Advisory Board for the Event Center met Dec. 3 and reviewed the current rental rates as compared to other venues. They submitted their recommended rental rates for 2022 to the city council, who approved the new rates. The new rates will not affect rentals already placed; only new rentals made.

• The city received a pay request from Helms & Associates in the amount of $2,669.87 for the airport turn-arounds project. The council approved the request.

• Springer was approved by the council to attend a South Dakota Rural Water Annual Conference Jan. 11-13, 2022, in Pierre. There was discussion about attendees to the Government Day at the Legislature & Legislative Rib Dinner to be held Feb. 1-2, in Pierre. There were no volunteers.

• The city scheduled their year-end meeting for Dec. 30.

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