From: Leslie Klusmire, Town Manager
RE: May Manager’s Report
Date: June 4th, 2014
W&S Compliance – The latest news is that we have completed our engineering review of the construction drawings for what is titled “2011 Utility Reconstruction” plan for the downtown area and had several lengthy discussions with the engineer of record for those drawings, Jimmy Hayson of SEH. These plans cost $134,800 and were paid for with a $67,400 EIG grant and town funds. There was an additional $46,833.25 of town funds spent on a PER and Environmental Report required by USDA, a funding source. Unfortunately, we didn’t get good news. Apparently the project was stimulated by a desire to pave downtown streets and since it’s difficult to get paving grant funds, the Town elected to create the project emphasizing water and sewer replacement in order to compete for EIG and USDA grant funding. The year the Town hoped to apply for EIG funds, the state used EIG to balance the state budget and the ability for local governments to compete for those funds was eliminated. The plans are therefore over-engineered in order to meet USDA standards and there was only a minor emphasis on water and sewer replacement. A significant portion of the $3.5 million current estimated cost was devoted to unnecessary but desired street improvements and paving costs. This is a long way of saying we are going to need to re-engineer our final water and sewer project to meet the needs of replacing the most critical infrastructure. For your information, I have attached an undated detailed status report on the water and sewer system status created by former Town Manager Michelle Pierce in 2011 or 12.
We have once again changed course on our plans to address leaks and are taking the following path at this point:
1. Greg and Clint will be doing leak detection on the entire town, starting in the downtown area. This will involve short water shut offs block by block intermittently throughout the summer. We’ll notify residents ahead of time.
2. Greg and Joanne plan to video sewer lines intermittently to generally determine what state the pipes are in. This will cut down on the cost of doing the entire system and should give us an idea how the 1960’s age pipes are doing. We’ll make a decision based on that whether to slip line them or replace with new.
3. From there, we’ll put together a plan to repair the most critical areas.
4. We will use the Tier 1 EIG to pay for the water quality PER and construction drawings and be ready for a spring to fall 2015 construction project.
5. While SEH is primarily a highway construction engineer, if it turns out that we will be focusing mostly in the area of the original project, we may work with SEH to modify those plans so they are cost effective and better address the utility replacement issues.
6. If our areas of concern are outside the downtown, we’ll most likely engage an engineer who works with this level of water and sewer infrastructure replacement.
7. We will not proceed with repair work for the fall and instead will start in the spring of 2015.
The good news is that this is likely to cost us less than $3.5 million dollars since we are refocusing on the actual water and sewer infrastructure repair as our primary focus.
More difficult news came in two weeks ago as I prepared for our citizen survey. While the grant committee decided it was ok for us to only survey full time residents, the State Demographer would only allow us to survey six month or longer residents. I do not think we will have successful results with that criteria and the survey would cost us about $1000 plus 3 or 4 staff days. So we are not going to attempt to see if we can qualify for no interest loans. I will be filling out the loan applications in the next two weeks. With a reduced cost for infrastructure repair, I hope that our loan amount will be reasonable and we won’t have to raise water and sewer rates significantly.
Drainage – We are holding a drainage problem scoping meeting on the morning of June 19 with Joanne Fagan, PE. I will be notifying town community members to submit any drainage concerns on public property and we’ll organize a tour of those early in the morning, with a discussion later in the morning. The purpose is to aggregate the problems and develop a plan for going forward. Some drainage issues can be solved by our staff, some will require an engineered solution. We will also discuss funding mechanisms to pay for resolution of the problems.
EIG Administrative Grant for Engineering Planning Services – The grant is executed and a contract with Joanne Fagan signed.
Collaborative Recreation Master Plan & the CRC – We did not get approved for the GOCO grant although we received very encouraging feedback. As you’ll recall, I through that grant together in about 48 hours in response to pressure about the Ice Rink. They only granted a total of $227,350 in planning grants and that was split among five projects. Our project alone would have eaten up one third of the total allotment.
Camille reports that the Conservancy didn’t get their riparian grant request approved either. I know a lot of money went to flood ravaged areas ($5 million) and that may have affected our chances.
Here is what I would suggest as a more realistic strategy.
1. CRC fully fund construction plans for Ice Pavilion. Ben Hake feels that we could get most of that work done by the metal roof company so it may not cost much. I think the community strongly supported the Memorial Park location through our community meetings. Then we can apply for an August GOCO LPOR grant for the ice rink. We will need a match and the Town does not have any funds for that. CRC could come to the BOT and ask for tentative permission to consider locating in Memorial Park if there is a donated match.
2. Town/County/CRC apply for smaller planning grant to finish recreation plan and integrate trail planning into it. If we apply for $30,000, we can do a $10,000 match and finish it off. Camille may want to tag on some planning money for the Conservancy so we can deal with that prior to the application deadline.
Armory – I am scheduled to present for the Armory Tier 2 EIG request in Durango July 22 &23. We’ll talk about strategy for that presentation at a later date. I have received some sample RFPS for the construction design and will be working on that over the next two weeks
Software Conversion – Caselle’s accounts don’t exactly match our budgeted accounts so I can’t get a budget to actual expenditure comparison until our accountant and I are able to bring our system into alignment. We are also working with how we pay employees so that we are IRS compliant. This means that some of our employees were classified as exempt and may not be. I may institute some overtime policies to manage salary budgets.
Personnel – Debbi McKinney is temping for us - fulfilling the employee clerk duties and has worked with retired Alamosa Clerk Judy Egbert on all job duties other than accounting. Our accountant Jo Lance is taking care of all of our billing and payroll issues until we hire a permanent employee and can get that person Caselle trained. We will be working on fixing accounting problems in Caselle so we can get accurate financial reports. Caselle repaired the payroll problems and Jo is switching us over so that we are IRS compliant with payroll. We will also add the grant module to Caselle so we can track our larger grants more efficiently.
Judy Egbert is coming back in June to help us reorder our records so they are searchable and complaint with current standards.
We have offered the public works worker position to Clint Ediger who was the only applicant before the first review date. Clint has served us well and we are glad to be able to retain him. Greg Levine has been promoted to Public Works Director and is doing a great job at working through our water compliance issues. I have postponed a decision on a Deputy Town Clerk position pending resolution of other issues.
I’ll be at the conference on June 19th and 20th. If anyone wants to go over with me really early in the morning, let me know.
All Things Regarding Roads and Dust – I understand the spring road blading will occur this week and the dust control will be applied on the 10th.
Tree Trimming – We expect our tree trimmer up on his schedule (we don’t get to pick days) before June 15th. A number of people have submitted requests to get their trees trimmed and Ben is taking care of that. Ben attended a tree trimming workshop in Alamosa and has been attending to some of the smaller problems himself. We may have located a tub grinder in Gunnison that we can just use for a day and pay for with our grant. More later!