Sidney to recognize historical value of water tower

City Engineer Steve Perry advised the Sidney City Council on Dec. 23 the current water tower has been deemed to have historical value in terms of its relationship to the Sidney, Iowa Rodeo. A historic and archaeological evaluation of the water tower had to be completed to comply with HUD CDBG water project funding requirements, and that study did determine the 1923 water tower had some historic significance. 

Fortunately, that determination does not require restoration of the water tower, and the city was given five options for mitigation of the water tower’s significance, at varying cost estimates.

The city could:

document and memorialize the tower at the county museum, at a cost of approximately $3,500-$5,500;

dismantle the tower and re-purpose small portions for display at the museum at an approximate cost of $42,000-$48,000;

deconstruct the tank and tower and reconstruct a shortened version of it at the city park, at a cost of approximately $85,000-$95,000;

leave the water tower in place and rehabilitate and stabilize it, at an approximate cost of $125,000-$140,000, or

relocate the entire tower, rehabilitated, at a cost of over $300,000.

Sidney Mayor Paul Hutt said he talked with members of the Sidney Rodeo Board, and they told him they didn’t have the money to save the old water tower and were happy with printed memories for history. City council members discussed the options and agreed it was too costly to save the tower or pieces of it, approving the option to memorialize it in print at the museum.

Perry said the city was still waiting on its permit to construct the water treatment plant, and discussions with the DNR were ongoing. He warned funding agencies may require some projects that have been on hold to be re-bid due to potential price changes.

Perry asked the council to approve a change order of the water distribution system from Crain Construction that would reduce the contract amount by nearly $14,000, and asked them to approve final retainage payment of $34,459.91. The council approved both.

Dick McClure appeared on behalf of Sidney Hometown Pride to update the council on some of the progress the group has made in Sidney over the last five-years. One of the things he pointed out was that in that time the group had brought $88,390 worth of grant dollars to Sidney projects, along with many donations and too many volunteer hours to count.

McClure explained the group was looking for donations to raise the $25,000 needed for Hometown Pride Coach Doug Friedli’s salary. He hoped to get the council to commit to $2,500 in support toward that amount. While supportive and enthusiastic about Sidney Hometown Pride’s efforts, the council decided to table that request temporarily.

The council did approve a building permit for the Sidney Hometown Pride boot project, pending any zoning approval if needed.

The council discussed whether an in-depth audit was needed before transferring all information to the gWorks software. The city clerk and deputy clerk said it had been suggested it would be prudent, based on the fact that new clerks had just taken over this year and they were preparing to start using the new software. City attorney Clint Fichter suggested the audit the city had already had done should be sufficient. After additional discussion, the council agreed to ask the company who had just completed the city’s audit to come reconcile year end balances and spend some time with the clerks explaining the results.

a proclamation declaring January “Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness and Prevention Month” at their December 23 meeting.

New council member LouAnn Kyle asked the council to consider signing a proclamation declaring January “Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness and Prevention Month,” following the example of the State of Iowa and Fremont County itself.

Kyle also told the council she had been working on organizing a local summit, “What does human trafficking look like?” which will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on January 17 at the United Faith Church in Sidney. This summit will educate local and county officials about the issues and prevention efforts. Kyle asked the council to allow her to say the event is supported by the city. The council approved signing the proclamation and supporting the event.

Fichter talked to the council about progress on house acquisition, demolition and rehabilitation projects. The city is interested in acquiring the properties located at 909 Indiana and 503 Webster and removing the dilapidated structures, making room for possible new construction. Fichter said he believed a local attorney represented the owners and he would talk to him about those properties. Fichter said the Indian Street property could be purchased reasonably, but the city would need to make sure asbestos wouldn’t be an issue in demolition, as that would drive actual cost much higher.

Two other properties on south Main Street are under consideration by the council, and the owners have already been notified regarding their issues.

Fichter talked to the council about the challenge of funding necessary street repairs in Sidney and advised they should be planning to use the credit they had previously approved for up to $75,000. Taxes are collected with an eye to repaying that street note, and Fichter said it was time to use it in 2020. The council will likely approve holding a public hearing on the matter at the next city council meeting.

In other business, the council approved:

purchasing a snow push for about $8,000;

trying to get the utility insurance group back down to talk to the public about the coverage offered;

holding a goal-setting workshop on January 11;

a resolution approving the city audit report;

a liquor license for Dollar General, and

a fund transfer of $4,510 from water fund to the water sinking fund for payment of water debt.

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