Waste water treatment plant, street project incentives on council agenda

Published 6:10 am Saturday, January 18, 2020

The Austin City Council will vote on a waste water treatment plant (WWTP) expansion, design and bidding services during its next regular meeting.

The city has been planning to update the aging infrastructure on the 80-year-old WWTP as well as make necessary upgrades to reduce the outflow of phosphorous to make the plant compliant to regulations established by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. The estimated cost for the project is $78 million.

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According to City Engineer Steven Lang, Short Elliot Hendrickson Inc. (SEH) has submitted a detailed proposal to develop plans and specification for bidding the project. The council will vote on contracting with SEH in the amount of $3,650,000 for engineering consulting services for the design and bidding services on the project.

SEH has also developed a proposal based on the WWTP Flood Mitigation Study for design and bidding services for the project. The project design will work to develop concepts identified in the study for protection of the WWTP with levees and walls built to FEMA certification.

The proposal is in the amount of $526,670.

The council will also vote on whether or not to approve a revision to the lease agreement between the city and the YMCA at the Austin Community Recreation Center that would allow the Youth Activity Center be for students grades second through 12th, as opposed to fifth through 12th, during the meeting.

The council will recognize Austin police officers Michael Nordean and John “J.J.” Mueller and dispatchers Felicia Learn and Wanda Weigel for life saving actions taken during a food choking incident on April 14, 2019. According to Austin Police Chief David McKichan, the victim credits the officers, dispatchers and a Mayo Transport Ambulance crew with saving her life.

Assistant City Engineer Mitch Wenum will discuss possible incentives for 2020 street projects during the council’s work session. According to Wenum, of the 22 street reconstruction projects that occurred in the City of Austin from 2015-2019, only four were completed by deadline.  He did note that all 22 streets were re-opened before winter and that there are several factors that contribute to projects not being finished on time.

Wenum said that financial incentives for finishing on time could help reduce construction time, which in turn would mean shorter disruption to residents and businesses affected by the project. He did state that drawbacks could include added project costs and could cause disputes with contractors over contract changes and incentive payments.

In observation of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, the council will hold its next regular meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 21, in the City Council Chambers located in the basement of City Hall. The work session will be held in the conference room across the hall from the Council Chambers following the regular meeting.

For a complete agenda, visit www.ci.austin.mn.us/city-council.