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Community Notes: Charles City projects continue despite virus

By Mayor Dean Andrews Charles City

With all of the COVID-19 restrictions in place these days, it seems like life is proceeding at a much slower pace for many of us. However, that does not seem to be the case at City Hall.

Although our business office is still closed to the public, many projects continue to move forward. I thought today I would like to bring you up to date on many of these issues.

Community Notes: Charles City projects continue despite virus
Mayor Dean Andrews

The project with the most activity over the past couple of months has been the broadband Fiber to the Premise network. The broadband board of trustees has been meeting almost weekly with their planning.

The former City Tap on North Main Street has been purchased to serve as the data center and general business office for the network (soon to be known as Charles City Fiber).

Bids for the building of the city-wide fiber network are due on June 2nd, as is the proposal for revenue bonds for the project funding of $18 million to $20 million (which will be paid back by fees paid by network subscribers).

The board also plans to have interviews for the broadband general manager completed by the first week in June. If all goes as planned, we should be ready to start installing fiber by the middle of July, with service being available in the spring of 2021.

The Waste Water Recovery Facility (WWRF) will again be ramping up construction the last week of May. That construction was proceeding well during the winter months, but had to shut down due to confusion with the DNR on environmental evaluations at the end of February.
All of these issues are now wrapping up, and we look forward to the construction crews being back on the site shortly.

The ambulance commission met last week to continue negotiations on a new ambulance contract which is due for renewal by July 1st. We are currently operating with AMR ambulance on an extension of a previous contract.

It is looking like we are going to be able to negotiate a new contract with AMR to provide service for Charles City as well as the rest of the county, and also provide better service for Floyd County Medical Center on their needs for transfers to other medical facilities.

It looks like the city and the county will each provide a $75,000 per year subsidy to AMR to accomplish this service, but the details have yet to be finalized.

Speaking of the county, I had a couple of meetings with Supervisor Roy Schwickerath recently and he informed us that the placement of the prefabricated concrete walls and roof structures at the Law Enforcement Center will be going into place shortly. He said in the next 3 to 4 weeks it should look more like a building, at least from the outside.

Bids for the Charley Western Trail Bridge are due on Tuesday, May 19th. As you may remember, we solicited bids last winter but did not receive any acceptable bids. This time, the project (which will be bid through the state DOT bidding process) provides for a longer construction time and hopefully will encourage more bidders.

John Fallis, our city engineer, tells me that at least five bidders have taken out bid plans, so hopefully we will see many bids to choose from on the 19th. The deadline for the bridge construction will now be early fall of 2021.

As a final note to finish up, I want to again encourage everyone to complete their census registration. Responses can be done online, by phone, or by paper form.

You should have received information in the mail with your identification number for completing the census. If you don’t respond, someone will eventually be coming to your door to collect your information.

The census form is very easy to complete and should take only 10 minutes. It is very important that we get as accurate of a count as possible, as each resident can equate to several thousand dollars in government allocations and grants over the next 10 years.