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Council moves to finance water, sewer improvements for ag park

October 9, 2012
By BILL SHEA ( , Messenger News

The framework for financing millions of dollars worth of water and sewer projects was established by the Fort Dodge City Council on Monday.

Council members voted to declare the city's intent to borrow up to $18.4 million from a state low-interest loan fund to pay for water system work.

That loan will have an interest rate of 2 percent, according to Jeff Nemmers, the city clerk and finance director. He said an interest rate of 3.25 percent was initially anticipated.

The loan will be paid off with water bill revenue. Much of the needed work is related to the development of the North Central Ag Industrial Park, and Nemmers said that portion of the debt would be paid by companies with facilities in the park.

He said additional action will be needed to actually borrow the money.

The council also voted to declare the city's intent to borrow money to install oversized water and sanitary sewer lines to serve the CJ Bio America plant in the Ag Industrial Park. The city will borrow up to $350,000 for the water lines and up to $1 million for the sewers.

Under a previously approved agreement, CJ Bio America and the Webster County government will reimburse the city for the cost of those lines.

Additional council action will be necessary to borrow the money.

About $39.8 million of infrastructure work, most of it related to the Ag Industrial Park, is now in varying stages of planning or construction, according to Derick Anderson, the local manager of McClure Engineering Co. in Fort Dodge. He said the projects are ''right on budget.''

The work, he said, is to be completed in mid- to late 2013. Cargill's sugar and ethanol plant in the park is expected to open in late 2013 and CJ Bio America is expected to open its amino acid plant in early 2014.

In an unrelated matter, Buck Boekelman, of 1239 25th Ave. N., asked the council to convert First Avenue South downtown to two-way traffic as soon as possible.

''I think if you guys would just bite the bullet and do it we would know if that would enhance traffic flow closer to Central Avenue and past the Fareway store,'' he said.

First Avenue South is one-way westbound between 12th and Third streets. The crosstown connector plan calls for converting it to two-way traffic after a street realignment to link First and Second avenues south is done.

City Engineer Chad Schaeffer said First Avenue South may be converted to two-way traffic next year while part of First Avenue North is being rebuilt.

''At this time, I don't think it's in our best interest to do something now in October,'' he said. ''I think we should go through the planning efforts.''

The council took no action on Boekelman's request.

Also on Monday, the council gave up city ownership of 1,820 square feet of ground that was intended for an extension of C Street north of Avenue H that was never built. Such an action would usually require three votes of the council, but at the urging of Councilman Mark Taylor, the elected officials decided to waive the second and third votes. Jim and Betty Hartsell, who own a house near the former city property, are expected to acquire it.



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