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Council talks infrastructure, Ward 1 vacancy

By Sue Sitter - | Jul 10, 2021

Sue Sitter/PCT Rugby City Council member Wayne Trottier, left, holds up a map of sections of town slated for infrastructure work at the July 6 regular council meeting. Council members Maurus Brossart, center, and Frank LaRocque look on.

Infrastructure and city buildings again took up much of the discussion at the Rugby City Council’s regular meeting July 6 at city hall.

Engineer Jim Olson of Grand Forks firm AE2S updated the council on sewer and water infrastructure proposed for a section of town near 2 12 Avenue and Sixth Street Southeast. He also spoke on pipe problems near the Rugby Recreation complex and three city buildings.

Many of the issues have been on the council’s monthly meeting agendas since last year.

Olson told the council an application for a USDA Rural Development program grant of $1.6 million for the project, which is part of a $4.9 million city infrastructure plan, had been submitted.

Olson said other legal documents were in the process of completion for the 2 1/2 Avenue project and he hoped it would go to bid at the end of September. However, the price of materials concerned him.

The price of PVC pipe for the project had increased from about $9 per linear foot in 2020 to $14 in 2021. “That’s what we’re following,” he said, “and steel prices and resin prices.”

Olson said if the city’s application for the project were approved and a contractor were hired by fall, “Their biggest concern is locking in the pipe (price).”

Olson noted he saw other projects in North Dakota moving forward with underground pipe projects despite the price jump.

“I just want everybody to be on the same page and let me play the market for the next 30 days,” Olson said, indicating he hoped the price for materials would level off or decrease.

New council member Maurus Brossart asked how the city would pay for its portion of the project.

City Auditor Jennifer Stewart explained the city would pay for a portion of the project up front, using $300,000 budgeted for water and storm sewer work. The city also had $500,000 in Operation Prairie Dog funds available for the project. The city has already received a $22,500 grant for feasibility studies.

The council approved Olson’s request to wait for the legal process to finish and a possible price decrease.

“We want to start this project as soon as we’re able. We’ll also have the Highway 3 project starting next April and if we’re ready, that’s the best scenario,” Mayor Sue Steinke said. The council had agreed in past meetings to coordinate Rugby’s infrastructure work with planned work by the North Dakota Department of Transportation on a section of North Dakota Highway 3 through town.

Olson also told the group the City of Rugby’s water system had been moved from number 12 to number six on a list of North Dakota cities with critical infrastructure needs in line for funds from the North Dakota Water Commission. Olson said the state considered several factors to move Rugby up in the list, including the fact Rugby’s water system consists of a network of aging asbestos cement pipes.

“I can guarantee you there are joints leaking all over. We’re losing water we should be capturing,” Olson said.

“It’s an environmental hazard nowadays,” Olson added.

Olson said the state water commission would meet July 8.

The council also heard results from a camera study of sewer infrastructure in the city. The council voted to approve a project to televise, flush and root sewer infrastructure in the northwest quadrant of town at a cost of $59,221. Gary Kraft, Dave Bednarz, Joel Berg, Frank LaRocque and Wayne Trottier cast “aye” votes for the project, while Brossart voted “no.”

The council also reviewed proposals to replace windows, install fans and a large door in the Rugby Swimming Pool building. Brossart and Neil Lotvedt, who owns a construction business and spoke as a member of the public, asked questions about the building’s structural integrity and suggested making connectors called girds and purlins part of the project. Council members agreed to keep the project below the $200,000 threshold set in previous meetings.

Because of the suggested changes, the council voted to refer the project back to the buildings committee.

The council also voted to refer projects for roofing repairs on city hall, the city armory and the pool building to committee.

Olson also reported work on plumbing within the walls of city hall offices had been completed by Rugby firm Johnson’s Plumbing.

In other business, council members opened bids for city equipment. A 1989 Freightliner truck owned by the city went to Mark Pfau for $5,000. Pfau also submitted the winning bid for a 1988 GMC truck for $3,500 and a John Deere lawn mower for $3,750. David Drader submitted the winning bid of $329 for a mosquito fogger, while Dale Klein’s bid of $365 purchased a broom attachment from the city.

The council approved new committee appointments.

Berg, LaRocque and Bednarz will serve on the recreation committee; Kraft and Matt Lunde will serve on the ordinance committee; Kraft and Trottier will serve on the finance committee; Kraft, Bednarz and LaRocque will serve on the public works committee; LaRocque, Trottier and Brossart will serve on the public safety committee and Berg, Bednarz and Brossart will serve on the buildings committee.

Steinke, JDA Executive Director Karl Frigaard, Kraft, LaRocque and Stewart will serve on the Renaissance Zone committee, while Trottier and LaRocque will serve on the personnel committee with Deputy Auditor Candy Munyer serving as a non-voting advisory member. Gary Lee, Brenden Klebe, Tim Bartsch, Jr. and Troy Munyer will serve on the trees committee. City planning and zoning members are Trottier; Kraft; Steinke; City Attorney Bill Hartl; Building Inspector Wayne Schmaltz and Dave Anderson.

The council voted unanimously to approve a joint powers agreement to board inmates from the City of Rugby at Heart of America Correctional and Treatment Center and to grant a local permit application to the Rugby Sports Boosters.

The council also voted to accept the resignation of Ward 1 Representative Jackie Albrecht, who said in a letter to the council that she was moving. The city is seeking nominees for the vacant Ward 1 seat.

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