The need for a new boiler at the pool and a replacement for the fondly remembered leaf vacuum street cleaner “Snuffy” were among several matters discussed at the Tuesday, Nov. 17, Holyoke City Council meeting.
City Superintendent Mark Brown stated that they first knew something was wrong at the Holyoke pool when they received an extremely high gas bill for the building. Further investigation found that one of the boilers had malfunctioned, spraying water that was partially hitting the boiler’s flame, causing the boiler to then work harder to compensate.
The other boiler has also recently gone down due to a pump problem, proving that the pool needs both boilers to function effectively.
While the second boiler is likely covered under warranty, the first will probably exceed the requirements for warranty due to scaling from hard water.
“It’s got to be done,” said Mayor Orville Tonsing. “No sense spending money repairing the old boiler when we can get a new one for a little more with a warranty.”
The council voted and approved Brown to pursue purchasing a new boiler and to add the necessary water treatment. Tom Hethcote will be consulted for price comparisons.
“Snuffy is dying.”
Other replacements to be made include a new leaf va-cuum street cleaner for the city.
“Snuffy is dying,” announced Brown to the council, in reference to the street machine with a 14-inch suction hose that resembles Snuffaluffagus from Sesame Street. Brown himself has rebuilt much of Snuffy’s inner workings over the years, as the machine was originally built in the 1950s.
However, the need for extensive repairs has finally made it more practical to simply look for a replacement machine. A suitable successor will likely be hard to come by, as most street sweepers have suction hoses only half the diameter of Snuffy’s.
Funds have been set aside in the 2016 budget for a new vacuum leaf disposal system.
Subdivision exemption request granted
Also at the Tuesday meeting, the council approved a request from Astolfo Rojo for a subdivision exemption. The exemption allows the lot in question, which is on Wynona Avenue and is quite large, to be split into two in order to sell the halves separately for someone to build a new home.
Request made for building removal report
Council member Scott Murray requested information on the cleanup status of another area in town, where the Cedar Inn is among properties in the process of being professionally removed due to asbestos.
The information was not available, but Police Chief Doug Bergstrom has been asked to provide a report on the properties at the next regular meeting.
Quote received for wildlife fence around runway
Brown also reported a recent meeting with Jake Armstrong of Armstrong Consultants Inc. about the capital improvement project to put a 6-foot wildlife fence around the airport runway.
The project is part of an initiative by the Federal Aviation Administration to put fences around all runways for safety and security. The cost could total $450,000, with the city’s cost $22,500 and Federal and State funds covering the remainder.
Labor program for welfare recipients considered
Another item introduced at the Nov. 17 meeting was a program in which the city would provide opportunities for labor to those receiving food stamps and other government assistance. Federal law requires a certain number of hours of labor in order to receive such benefits.
“The point is they have to be willing to work,” said Brown. “A lot really do want to help themselves, although of course there’s a bad apple here and there.”
Phillips County would like the city to partner with the program, allowing the approximately 15 citizens currently fitting the requirements to work alongside other city crew workers. The program has helped many in the past gain training and even full-time job opportunities.
The council did not reach a decision, and it was made clear that there is time to think about the possibilities of the partnership.
“Sister cities” agreement extended by Holyoke, Mass.
The council also has time to consider the “sister cities” agreement extended by Holyoke, Mass. Currently it is rather unclear what all the agreement would entail.
A previous “sister city” attempt was made in the past with a city in South America, and after some exchange of correspondence, the partnership disappeared after a lack of communication.
Members of the council were invited to “take the agreement and run with it,” if they wished, but currently there is no rush. Most members wanted to hear more information and details about the arrangement before making a decision.
Reports at the Nov. 17 meeting included Brown’s report of multiple power outages that morning due to high winds and slapping power lines. The last of the outages were resolved by 11 a.m.
He also reported that water crews have been working on the cross-connection and backflow prevention project and city crews have been removing snow and working on the ballfield awnings.
Brown added that Paul Mailander will no longer be accepting grass clippings from the city for compost at the station west of town, and a new solution will be necessary.
A final item of the city superintendent’s report was that Concrete Stabilization Technologies would be in town Thursday, Nov. 19, to begin on the north Scheunemann wall project next to the mini park.
County Clerk/Treasurer Kathy Olofson reported that Dale O’Neal was appointed to another three-year term on the Cemetery Board, after already having served 49 years.
She also reported that the Lions Club had donated $1,000, which will be used to help remodel the Lions Club concessions stand at the ball park.
In other business at the Tuesday, Nov. 17, meeting, the board:
—allowed notice for an electric rate increase of 3 percent to be published for useage in 2016.
—approved a holiday bonus for full-time employees in the amount of $75.
—agreed to provide a total of $175 prize money for the annual lighting/decorating contest.
—approved a purchase request for a 54-inch set of forks for a CAT loader from Wagner Equipment at $3,900.
—renewed the liquor license for Kwik Stop.
—renewed the lease for the golf course driving range with Gwendolyn and Robert Keefauver at $500 per year plus real estate taxes.
—accepted the quote from Joshua Skelton of Dickinson Land Surveyors Inc. to provide a base map of the City of Holyoke and then provide sewer, storm sewer, water, electric and zoning maps for $20,000-$23,000 with maps priced per size.
—went into a 35-minute executive session with City Attorney Al Wall for legal advice.
Holyoke Enterprise November 26, 2015