Highland News Leader

Final bill paid on Highland’s sewer rehab project

The Highland City Council approved the 11th change order for the cured-in-place-pipe sewer rehabilitation project at its meeting Monday, the final change for the contract.

“The project is complete and the change order will balance contract quantities with field measured quantities,” Public Works Director Joe Gillespie said in a memo to City Council members. “The final contract amount increase and that is due to our attempt at maximizing the sewer bonding funds and correct as much of the sewer system as possible.”

The final change order caused a net decrease of $18,511 from the original contract price, which resulted in a contract price with all approved change orders of $2,200,661.23.

The project is being paid for with bonds financed by sewer fee revenue. The project rehabilitates existing clay pipe sewers, some of which are nearly a century old, with technology that cures a new plastic pipe inside the existing clay tile. The system does not require old sewer lines to be excavated.

The clay sewers in the older parts of the city have had issues for years. Roots penetrate the pipes, causing backups. Holes in the pipes also let rain water in, putting strain on the system to handle water it is not meant to. The new plastic piping fixes both those issues.

Other Council Action

Transfer of graves approved

The council also approved the transfer of graves sites at Highland City Cemetery from Dale and Diane Rose to Bridget Viehweg.

Tree Commission appointment approved

The council approved Mayor Joe Michaelis’ appointment of Jason Stroehlein to the city’s Tree Commission after Sheila Gruender resigned her current seat. Stroehlein will serve the remainder of the three-year term vacated by Gruender, expiring in July 2018.

Health Insurance renewal approved

The council also approved health insurance packages and plans for city employees.

“While there will still be a premium increase to the city and its employees, we are running below trend which is currently around 12 percent, we are heading in the right direction,” said Lisa Schoeck, director of human resources.

Currently, the city’s claims are running better than expected, which is creating a surplus at the conclusion of the entire plan year.

The city will receive 50 percent of the surplus back in a premium credit that would equate to approximately $11,000.

New street sweeper purchased

The council also signed off on buying a new street sweeper. The Street and Alley Department currently has a 2005 truck-mounted vacuum street sweeper with 47,700 miles and roughly 10,000 hours of operation. The department uses it about 30 hours a week.