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Council approves $380,000 transformer project at South Cedar Terrace

By Kelly Terpstra,

South Cedar Terrace will receive four new transformers as part of a $380,000 electrical project for the Charles City Housing Department that was approved by the City Council on Monday.

Stanton Electric of New Hampton was awarded the bid for almost $384,000 after the final plans were approved, contingent on receiving the required contract and performance bond.

South Cedar Terrace currently uses three transformers and adding the additional transformer would save the housing department $42,000, according to architect Ed Winegar. Construction of utility poles and underground lines will also be placed on site. The primary feeders will be directly routed to the utility pole instead of a vault.

The electrical service upgrade will also install security lighting, which had a separate add alternate bid of $66,000 that was included as part of the cost of the overall contract. The security lighting would be upgraded to LED.

Heidi Nielsen, director of housing, said MidAmerican Energy, which will be helping out with the project, recommended the city purchase and install its own lights – the work being done by Stanton Electric.

The Housing Department is charged a monthly lighting charge for each of the 16 security lights in addition to the cost of electricity. That monthly charge will increase from almost $12 in 2014 to just under $26 in 2023. The use of those lights would cost approximately $22,000 over the next five years if new ones aren’t installed.

Construction could start near the end of June and the rest of the work would be done during July.

The council awarded a bid of $22,900 to SEH for design and engineering work to be done on all three housing department sites – North/South Cedar Terrace and Morningside Apartments. Work would fix any deteriorated asphalt and cement and eliminate tripping hazards. Additional parking space would be added to North Cedar Terrace.

As part of citywide sidewalk inspection program, the council approved the first reading of an ordinance that would allow property owners to fix their sidewalks in the city right way of way without obtaining licensing and bonding, as is currently required.

“We’re more restrictive than a lot of cities,” said City Engineer John Fallis about the current code. “Part of this would be an amendment to the code that would allow property owners to do their own work.”

Property owners would still have to get a permit from the city and be inspected in order to complete the improvements.

Other action taken at the council meeting was as follows:

— Lodge Construction completed the demolition work on the Charley Western Trail Bridge. The entire bridge was removed from the site at the Cedar River last August. The project was completed with a total cost of over $261,000. The council approved final payment to Lodge Construction.

— The second reading of Ordinance 1130, which would amend Section 22 of the Zoning Ordinance, was approved. This ordinance deals with off-street parking requirements for redevelopment housing projects in the right of way. Paving requirements would be less restrictive as well as the number of parking stalls that are required per dwelling for multi-family housing.

– The council approved a change order in the amount of $46,000 for additional work to be done on the Riverside Drive/Illinois St. Reconstruction Project. Heavy rains due to the Cedar River flooding created more work to be done by King Construction and Kamm Excavating.

– A second change order was also given the green light. Over $12,000 in additional work done in 2018 for the Clark Street Trail Recreational Project was approved. The Iowa Department of Transportation concurred and approved the change as well. That meant the city is only responsible for 20 percent of construction cost or roughly $2,500.

– A permanent easement to improve surface drainage on the south side of the offices of Immaculate Conception was given the OK.

– The council OK’d the purchase of a new Toro mower for $22,000 for the Parks and Recreation Department.