Alliance reports on first two weeks in Nevada

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Alliance Water Resources gave its first report on its activities since taking over the city's water and sewer operations on Feb. 1, during a regular meeting of the Nevada City Council on Tuesday.

Alliance's local manager, Shawn Middendorf, reviewed the status of equipments and outlined activities that have taken place so far.

Some of the flow meters, both ingoing and outgoing, are inoperable, and workers have sought out owners manuals and other efforts and the repair process is in progress. Workers also are evaluating and setting up a system to regularly gather and record data, and accounts are being set up to facilitate the purchase of chemicals and supplies.

"There's a problem with odor, as you all know," Middendorf said. Many of the chemical spray nozzles in the buffering system are clogged and are to be cleaned or replaced as needed. "We're trying to clean some of them to keep the cost down," he said. Sulfide tests are being performed to help evaluate the system.

Alliance has been working with the contractor and staff to finalize the new wastewater treatment plant project.

A stand-by schedule is in place, facilitated by an on-call cell phone to be carried by a staff member to respond to the city's needs and customer service issues. Customers in need of assistance should call city hall during business hours, or the police department after hours, and the on-call person will be contacted.

The staff responded to a sewer blockage Feb. 3, two frozen meter calls and one possible sewer blockage on Feb. 4 and reported that the sewer blockage was not a main sewer line problem. On Feb. 8, they responded to a frozen meter call, but discovered the meter was not frozen. A water main problem that occurred Feb. 14 offered the opportunity for the staff members to work together. "It was sort of an ice breaker... pardon the pun," Middendorf said. Workers addressed the situation and discovered a second break, which also was fixed by 7 a.m., Tuesday.

Training is under way to meet OSHA requirements, and other day-to-day processes are evolving.

City Manager JD. Kehrman said monthly reports from Alliance can be expected.

The council also unanimously OK'd raises for city employees. Effective March 1, all full-time and part-time employees can expect a 2.5 percent cost-of-living adjustment. The increase does not apply to seasonal employees. The cost of the raises for the remainder of 2011 totals $67,000.

Council members also gave the nod to the I.M.P.A.C.T. Nevada tourism board to lease a building owned by Michael Turnbull at 101 N. Commercial, to house the tourism coordinator and visitors center, for $450 per month, including utilities. Tourism coordinator Patti Christensen said that the move from the Carnegie Building was motivated by a desire by the board to have an independent tourism office. The office will stay in the new Commercial Street location for at least a year, Christensen said. The board had been poised to locate the office in the former Subway building, but the cost of remodeling the structure for use as a tourism facility proved prohibitive.

In other business, the council:

* Approved tourism grants from the city's hotel/motel tax totalling $8,000.

* Approved a lease-purchase agreement for financing with Great Southern Bank for 3.9 percent interest for seven years. Kehrman said bids were obtained from four lenders.

* Approved the appointment of council member Seth Barrett to a committee to select an engineering firm for the Hickory Street sidewalk project.

* Approved a special ordinance declaring a 2002 Dodge pickup used by Public Works as surplus property.

* Passed on first reading an amendment to the 2010 budget to reflect increased revenue for the Nevada Public Library that was $8,101 higher than expected and minor changes in the facility maintenance expenses.

* Held a public hearing for a zoning change from R-1, single family, to R-3, apartment housing, at 300 S. Spring, requested by Gary Lunkenheimer. The measure was recommended by the Nevada Planning Commission in a Feb. 8 meeting of that group, and generated some opposition at the planning commission meeting. Tuesday, no one spoke against the rezoning, but the applicant and one resident, Marie McCullough, spoke in favor of the rezoning and the project proposed. The council unanimously approved the rezoning on first reading.

* Conducted a public hearing for a zoning change from R-1, single family to M-2, heavy industrial, at the closed landfill and adjacent city property. Kehrman noted that when the property was annexed in 1996, it was automatically zoned R-1, but because it's a landfill, flanked by industrial use, the property could never be used for single-family residential purposes.

* Approved a liquor license to sell package liquor at Happy's Drink Barn, LLC, at 110 S. Mill; and Tim's Convenience Store II at 1112 E. Austin, formerly the Quality Convenience Store. In 2010, the city council expanded the number of such licenses from seven to nine and ended up with eight stores with package liquor licenses, leaving one available. That available license was granted to Happy's Drink Barn, but Tim Gotschall, owner of Tim's Convenience Stores, wasn't out of luck -- the former Quality Convenience store Gotschall is taking over relinquished its license to the city, making one available for Tim's. Liquor licenses are not transferrable.

* Heard an update on snowstorm cleanup efforts and how they relate to an upcoming visit from the State Emergency Management Agency and Federal Emergency Management Agency, outlining costs the city may be able to recover from the disaster.

* Adopted a resolution certifying the election results for the Municipal Primary Election held Feb. 8.

* Authorized travel and related expenses to allow the city clerk and deputy city clerk to attend the MoCCFOA Spring Institute, March 7-10, at a total estimated cost of $800. The clerk will attend the entire conference; the deputy clerk will attend one day.

* Held an executive session to evaluate resumes for the position of city treasurer.

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