Water tower repair project expands

As is the case for many home-repair projects, the Hillsboro City Council was informed during its July 6 meeting that a previously undetected problem with the city?s ?little water tower? will require additional work and expense.

The council accepted a change order from Maguire Iron Inc. of Sioux Falls, Iowa, to weld in place a 117-square-foot panel of quarter-inch steel because the rivets in the problem area were no longer holding, resulting in leakage.

Workers with Maguire Iron discovered the problem while doing contracted repairs on the 80,000-gallon tank, with plans to also replace the cover that blew off in a windstorm last fall.

Repairing the latest problem will add $37,980 to the project.

City Administrator Larry Paine said the discovery revived the question of whether the additional expense was justified.

He said he and Mayor Delores Dalke agreed that if the tower was not going to be used as part of the city?s water supply system, it would not be needed at all.

Paine said the primary role of the 1927 tower, which was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2011, is to enhance water pressure on the west side of the city and to serve as a backup when routine maintenance is being done on the city?s larger, newer tower.

Paine said if the old tower would be eliminated, the city would be required by the state to invest about $68,000 for a pair of variable-speed drives at the water plant to ensure necessary pressure.

After reviewing options with Morgan Marler, the city?s senior water treatment technician, Paine said they had concluded ?that the level of expense…was necessary? and he recommended the change order be approved.

Beyond the purchase price of the replacement drives, Coun?cilor Shelby Dirks suggested that ongoing maintenance on the mechanical drives likely would cost more than maintenance on a non-mechanical tower.

The original repair project was to have cost $159,360, with $103,500 of it covered by a grant the city received through the state?s Heritage Trust Fund.

Bartel House project

The council accepted a funding plan from the city?s Museum Advisory Board to palletize stones from the 1879 Heinrich Bartel House and move them from their current location 1.5 miles north of Hillsboro to the city?s public works yard for temporary storage.

Miller Construction of Newton will be contracted to complete the project at a cost of $19,988, with $10,000 coming from the advisory board?s ?Friends? account, and the rest from the trust fund account the city manages on the museums? behalf.

In February, the advisory board had approached the council with a similar proposal, and asked if the city would consider contributing $10,000 from its capital improvement fund. The council asked for an alternate proposal.

Glen and Susie Kliewer donated the stones to the city in 2006 with an the agreement that the stones would be removed within four years.

David Brown, representing the advisory board at the council meeting, said the Kliewers are still willing to have the stones removed even though the four-year deadline passed in 2010.

The board?s goal is to someday rebuild the Bartel House on the museum grounds because it reflects the heritage of Mennonites from Poland who settled in the French Creek area north of Hillsboro during the 1870s.

Other business

In other business, the council:

? received the 2014 audit report from Julie Won?dra, representing the accounting firm of Adams, Brown, Beran & Ball. Wondra highlighted several recommendations arising from the audit but declared it to be a ?clean opinion? regarding the revenue and expenditures of the city.