Council approves pool bids Monday
The Fairfield City Council awarded the contracts for the outdoor pool Monday, which came in under budget and with all of the accessories the council sought in a new pool.
The contracts for “pool construction” and “general construction” went to Ricchio Incorporated. Those two contracts combined were $2,165,700. Another contract, for the pool’s mechanical work, went to Cunningham Incorporated for $662,061. The council voted 7-0 to approve the bids.
“This is great news,” said Mayor Ed Malloy, remarking on the bids.
Malloy said one of the Vision Iowa board members voted against giving $1 million to the pool and gym project because the designs for the pool showed only five swimming lanes, but the bids approved Monday include six swimming lanes. Malloy said he would like to call that board member to tell him Fairfield got its sixth lane.
Leander Construction Inc. offered a bid lower than Ricchio’s but Burbach Aquatics, the construction manager of the pool, did not recommend that bid to the city. Dave Burbach said in a phone interview today that Leander Construction’s bid submittal did not include references for similar projects, which was one of the requirements.
The outdoor pool is expected to cost about $3.8 million, while the indoor gymnasium is expected to cost about $4.7 million. The city is planning to open the pool in the summer of 2015. Melanie Carlson of French-Reneker-Associates reported at Monday’s meeting that the gym is scheduled to open in 2016.
In other news, the Ottumwa-based firm Tenco will have to appear before the Fairfield board of adjustment to explain how its proposed crisis stabilization home at 804 E. Burlington Ave. meets the zoning requirements.
The council heard from city attorney John Morrissey, who spoke about the crisis center and the hurdles it could face since it is in a neighborhood zoned residential.
Morrissey said he spoke with Tenco’s executive director, Ben Wright, who was under the impression the crisis center was in a business district zoned either B-1 or B-2, which is not correct. Morrissey said the zoning code does not deal specifically with crisis homes of the kind Tenco wants to create, so it’s not clear if such an operation would be within the parameters of the zoning or not.
The council voted 7-0 to force the issue with Tenco by informing the company of its responsibility to appear before the board of adjustment to get a conditional use permit before using the building.
The crisis stabilization home would house up to five people who suffer from mental problems. They could stay at the home as many as 10 days. Codie Amason, director of operations at Tenco, said she anticipates hiring six additional staffers, including a crisis home operator, once the home is open.
A member of the audience asked Morrissey if the council could put a stay on the renovation of the crisis center until Tenco has appeared before the board of adjustment. Morrissey said “probably not.” He explained that Tenco does not need a permit from the city for the renovation since it is not changing the footprint of the building.
Councilor Martha Rasmussen asked Morrissey if Tenco made any inquiries to the city before it purchased the property at 804 E. Burlington Ave. Morrissey said he was unsure, although after speaking with Wright on the phone, he got the impression Wright assumed a crisis center would be acceptable for that part of town based on a realtor’s advice and websites he viewed that are not affiliated with the city.
The council listened to a presentation from Patrick Callahan of Callahan Municipal Consultants who gave his sales pitch requesting the council hire his firm to search for Fairfield’s next city administrator. In prior meetings, the council expressed its desire to hire a candidate who was familiar with Iowa law and customs. Callahan told the council he has only ever worked in Iowa.
The city of Fort Madison hired Callahan for its city administrator search. Callahan said the city received 27 applications, which he acknowledged were not particularly strong for a town of that size. However, he noted the strength of the applicants is often a function of the salary range the city offers, and Fort Madison hoped to snag a city administrator for around $85,000.
Councilor Jessica Ledger-Kalen asked Callahan what a competitive salary range was for a city the size of Fairfield. He said a competitive range was between $95,000-110,000 a year. Mayor Ed Malloy asked Callahan if he has a job applicant in mind right now for Fairfield from his prior searches, and he said he did.
Dave Neff and Karin Hauring of the Oktoberfest Committee asked for council approval to hold a beer garden and close certain parking spots around Central Park during Oktoberfest, which is Friday, Oct. 3. The committee wants to devote the inside parking lane to horse carriage rides. Neff said there will not be a horse parade this year, just carriage rides.
Councilor John Revolinski said he votes against all functions that serve alcohol on city property, but added that he likes Oktoberfest nevertheless. The motion to approve the committee’s request for a beer garden and parking closures passed 6-1 with Revolinski voting against it.
The council approved trick-or-treat night as Oct. 30 from 5:30-8 p.m. Halloween night was not chosen because the Fairfield Trojans play an away football game that night.