IM looks to vie for state water, sewer funds

IRON MOUNTAIN — A consultant has been hired to help Iron Mountain prepare plans for water and sewer projects totaling up to $25 million, though it remains to be seen if the city will qualify for Michigan Clean Water and Drinking Water grants.

Being designated as “overburdened” is the key to eligibility and in the past Iron Mountain hasn’t qualified, City Manager Jordan Stanchina said. Federal infrastructure funding has raised hopes, though the program remains competitive.

“There’s more money, but there’s a lot more applications,” Stanchina told the city council Monday.

Locally, Kingsford may seek help for projects up to $20 million, while Breitung Township is eyeing projects up to $16 million.

Iron Mountain City Council agreed Monday to hire Coleman Engineering, at a cost not to exceed $14,000, to move forward with preliminary plans.

Coleman has information on the city’s infrastructure, Stanchina noted. Once the criteria for state assistance is finalized, there is a “compressed timeline” to meet the deadline for applying, he said.A webinar on the grant and loan program was scheduled for today. “Waiting for this guidance is critical in determining if the city should make a full application,” Stanchina said.

The state would require competitive bidding for full-scale project design and construction engineering if the city were awarded funding.

In October, Iron Mountain filed a notice of its intent to apply for grants and loans, identifying a number of project areas. Under a 2018 state order, the city still has up to 1,700 lead service line connections to replace by 2041. If the entire $25 million project goes forward, about 400 of those would be fixed, according to Stanchina.

In other action Monday, the council:

≤ Accepted 600 feet of water main installed in 2007 by Moyle Inc. that provides service to Days Inn, AmericInn by Wyndham and Culver’s, all on the 2000 block of South Stephenson Avenue. By accepting the water main as public and maintaining it, the city is in a better position to facilitate future development east of Culver’s. Kwik Trip Inc. is among the businesses expressing interest. Moyle was in favor of the action and no easements will be needed, as the 12-inch HDPE plastic pipe is in the right-of-way, Stanchina said.

≤ Learned from Stanchina that a joint meeting of the council may be scheduled soon with the Breitung Township and Dickinson County boards to discuss Storie Co.’s plans for a $24.5 expansion and redevelopment of Pine Mountain Resort. The developer is seeking brownfield tax increment financing, whereby it could recapture taxes from the increase in taxable value. The Dickinson County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority has approved a plan, but the financial agreements will require input from the local governments, Stanchina said.

≤ Appointed council member Ken Clawson to serve on a Civil Service Commission panel for hiring a new director of police and fire services. Ed Mattson plans to retire in mid-2024 and Sgt. Jeff Solka and Sgt. Adam Ray are candidates to replace him.

≤ Approved a plan for sanitary sewer repairs in the area of Tamarack Street between West A and West B streets. Bacco Construction has been unable to make successful sewer main connections to the existing clay tile system due to excessive groundwater infiltration. The city recently has rented a generator for $2,275 monthly, plus fuel, to power a pump to bypass the problem area. The solution is to install a lift station at a cost still to be finalized, though it’s expected to be much cheaper than trying to repair the existing gravity sewer main, Stanchina said.

≤ Agreed to seek bids for a public works lawn mower, a lawn mower for the cemetery and a half-ton pickup truck for public works. The bid deadline is Feb. 20 and officials acknowledged availability may be an issue.


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