Iowa Great Lakes Trail Phase 2 receives favorable bids

Monday, July 2, 2018

The second phase of the Iowa Great Lakes Trail proceeded past one of its final barriers to completion after the Spencer City Council held a roll call vote to award the contract for the project. Howrey Construction, of Rockwell City, was ultimately awarded the contract.

“The bids were good news,” said Jeff Schug, transportation team leader with McClure Engineering. “We had four bids ranging between $1,692,190.75 and $2,095,000. Our engineer’s estimate was $2,088,000.

“The low bid by Howrey Construction was $1,692,190.75. So, $395,000 under our engineer’s estimate or about 19 percent under our estimate. Howrey is the contractor we were hoping was going to get the project so we were very pleased with the results.”

Ward 3 City Councilman Steve Bomgaars questioned Schug if he had an estimate for the project’s completion.

“I think the public would probably like to know what the timetable is for the project, when you plan to get started,” Bomgaars said.

“We are not allowed to speak with the contractor — because it went through a DOT bid — until after you enter into the contract,” Schug said. “But the first thing we will be doing is getting a pre-construction meeting set up so we can get their schedule and we’ll communicate that info to you as soon as we can.”

Despite the communications barrier causing an inability to offer a timeline for the project, Schug previously stated prior to the bidding period the “goal is to get it completed yet this construction season.” The project, which stretches a mile into the county from 18th Street to 300th Avenue, precedes the project’s final phase which will connect to Dickinson County through Fostoria.


Council, Police Chief discuss fireworks complaints

During the night’s department head reports, council members and Spencer Police Chief Mark Warburton discussed ordinance compliance in regards to the class one fireworks ban that has been in effect since last year.

“Something I wanted to remind the public is that the use of first class consumer fireworks is prohibited inside the city limits of Spencer,” Warburton said. “Now you’re looking at a minimum fine of $397.50 when you add court costs and surcharge in there. I want the public to be aware of that.

“Some of what we’re battling here at the Police Department is the fact we went from three vendors last year to 11 this year,” he continued. “We’re trying to get the message out but it’s very hard for the general public to get that, they perceive it to be legal because they see so many vendors within the city limits. And, of course, we do have people calling in and complaining about those. We’re just going to ask the public to actually go out in the county, get permission out there, and go ahead and discharge your fireworks outside the county and to celebrate responsibly.”

Bomgaars questioned the police chief over what complaints the department has received.

“Chief, you said that you’ve been getting calls in regards to complaints,” Bomgaars said. “Are you getting calls with regard to people complaining about the fireworks? People complaining about the city ordinance? Or both?”

“We’ve seen both,” Warburton said. “There are some people who want to see them legalized. We’re looking at June 1 to July 8 to when you can legally discharge them out in the county, so some people look at us and say ‘Hey, why don’t we just allow them to discharge?’ But, we have the exact opposite with some people saying ‘This is a nuisance for us, we don’t want to hear it and we don’t want our animals to hear it because some of them have some adverse reactions to that’ as well. It’s a give and take. We’re in a battle with that. As far as people, they’re craving it as far as the fireworks. That’s what we’re up against.”

“I appreciate your efforts in enforcing the ordinance,” Bomgaars said. “We talked about that, we debated, had good conversation about it last year. I know that ordinances can be changed, but this is what we’re living with, and there were good reasons that the council put this ordinance into place. I think it’s incumbent upon those people to follow the ordinance because it can be a disturbance to neighbors, it can affect their pets and I think you have to look at people with PTSD. They are really effected by these things, so have some courtesy to your neighbors.”

Warburton expected the Fourth of July holiday to keep the department busy.

“Because the Fourth of July is on Wednesday, we’ve had it on the weekend both before and after,” Warburton said. “So we’re kind of fighting that as well. I’m sure the Fourth of July itself will be a cumbersome day for us there.”

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