Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Polson launches sewer improvement project

Lake County Leader | April 7, 2021 5:00 PM

Let the digging begin.

The Polson City Commission approved a $1.6 million agreement Monday night that sets into motion a plan to replace sewer collection main pipes in three of the system’s most critical areas.

Two bids were submitted for the project, and Billings-based Western Municipal Construction, Inc. turned in the winning bid of $1,658,772, about $42,000 lower than an initial cost estimate.

The project is expected to be completed by late July or early August and will be focused on: the Seventh Street bypass between U.S. Highway 93 and Fourth Avenue; several blocks west of Main Street between Fourth and Seventh avenues; and parts of Fifth Street East near 12th Avenue.

Those areas were determined to be most critical during a survey completed in 2014 and updated in 2018, according to construction project manager Lizzy English of HDR Engineering, who addressed the Commission on Monday.

English said the city’s system relies on 100-year-old clay pipes that have become damaged and misaligned over time, causing frequent backups and leakage.

The agreement establishes a timeline of 130 days for the work, which involves the replacement of 1,225 feet of 8-inch sewer collection main, 2,850 feet of 10-inch sewer collection main and 1,100 feet of 2-inch water main with new polyethylene piping. The project also involves asphalt removal and replacement, gravel removal and replacement and the installation of several new manholes, according to the contract, which is attached to the April 5 Commission agenda on the city’s website.

Also Monday, the city approved a contract with Mission West Community Development Partners (formerly Lake County Community Development Corporation) for economic development services.

The agreement sets a minimum payment of $1,000 a month to Mission West for 15 hours of service that includes assistance with marketing resources available to local businesses, help for those applying for Polson Redevelopment Agency grants, ongoing research of grant opportunities for the city, and help attracting new businesses, among other things. It also sets a rate of $65 per hour for additional hours of service.

City Manager Ed Meece explained Monday that a similar agreement was in place but expired around the time the COVID-19 pandemic emerged.

“This gives us an additional resource,” Meece said. “I thought it was important to get this on paper and formalize this relationship.”

Also Monday:

• Commissioners approved using $10,000 from the Tax Increment Financing fund as part of an application for a USDA rural development grant. The application is in partnership with Mission West, which also will put up $10,000 matching funds for the $20,000 grant that would be used to study the potential development of a business accelerator and shared working space in downtown Polson.

• The Commission approved a Polson Redevelopment Agency grant of $6,149 to Scottage Cakery LLC for building code improvements to its building at 11 Third St. W.

• Commissioners authorized a six-month agreement with Skyler Bagley of O’Neill Law Office to serve as acting city attorney as the city searches for a replacement for former city attorney Clint Fischer, who resigned in March.

• Commissioners also approved the appointment of Ward 2 Commissioner Patricia Corrigan-Ekness to serve as liaison to the Economic Development Council.

• A first reading of an ordinance regarding the keeping of chickens within city limits was removed from Monday’s agenda at the last minute for some required revisions.

All of Monday’s actions received unanimous approval.