Mandan News

City to replace water meters

By Dustin White
Mandan News, editor

The move to upgrade water meters citywide has taken a step forward during the Mandan City Commission meeting on March 18.

The project, which will impact nearly all of the 6,600 water meters in the city, was awarded to Thirkettle Corporation in a $1.52 million contract. City engineers had estimated the cost to be around $2.5 million.

In November of 2013, the city was approved for a $2.4 million loan from the North Dakota Public Finance Authority’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund Project. Only the amount of the project will be borrowed, said Greg Welch, the city finance director.

Property owners will not be seeing an increase in their water rates, as water/sewer utility bills had previously been adjusted in 2013, to repay the loans. Nor will property owners be expected to cover the costs for the installation of new water meter assemblies.

However, on older properties, homeowners will be responsible for upgrade costs to pipes, shut-off valves, or curb stops that may need to be updated to properly work with the new meters.

The new system, will include a fixed network automated meter reading system, which will allow utility workers to collect water usage data via radio transmissions. Construction is expected to begin on April 9, and completed by January 31, 2015.

Painting of hydrants
Commissioners approved a “Fee for Service Agreement” with H.I.T., for the painting of city fire hydrants. This is the tenth year in which this arrangement has been made.

Throughout the year, between 150-175, out of nearly 800, hydrants will be brushed of loose material, rust proofed, and painted.

In 2013, they city spent $1,825, including paint and supplies, on the project.

Shared sick time
In a move to try to “catch-up,” Jim Neubauer, city administrator, presented a shared leave policy that would allow employees to donate annual and sick leave to other employees. The city policy would be modeled after the State of North Dakota’s policy/statute.

Leave could be donate if:
* Another employee is suffering from, or has a relative or household member suffering from an extraordinary or severe illness injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that has caused or is likely to cause the employee to take leave without pay or terminate employment.
* The receiving employee has exhausted, or will exhaust all leave or compensation due to the medical condition.
* All donated leave must be given voluntarily.
* The employee may not donate more than five percent of the employee’s accrued leave hours, and all leave must be donated in full-hour increments.
* The mayor may grant a leave of absence, not to exceed twenty workdays, to an employee for the purpose of donating an organ or bone marrow.

Other agencies that may be adopted into this policy are the Morton Mandan Public Library and Mandan Airport Authority.

The city attorney will draft an ordinance to be reviewed on April 1, and possibly adopted by April 15.