Some Hastings City Council members grumbled Monday about the cost of improvements at the water treatment plant, balking at the $183,729 cost for Tonka Water for the replacement of the filter media for the two high pressure filters at the plant, with an additional $7,900 to have a registered water service technician required to be on site.
Councilmen Don Bowers and Al Jarvis said they really wanted to vote “no” but reluctantly voted “yes.”
Deputy City Manager Jerry Czarnecki explained the procedure to replace the filter media that is about eight feet deep at the two high pressure filters, would take five to six weeks to complete.
All of the processes have to meet state requirements and testing will be done before the filters are put back into service.
Equipment rented to place the filter media over the walls that surround the tanks will also be needed, he said. City employees will do some of the work on the project. The capital improvement plan anticipated the project would cost $200,000.
With the rental of the equipment, the project should be very close to the expected cost, Czarnecki said in his request. Tonka Water provided the original equipment, two other firms were invited to bid on the project, but did not respond, he said.
Also, the council approved a contract with Assessor Daniel Kirwin of Darwin Appraisal Services for his services from April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020 for $3,800 a month, with the option of one or more years extension of the contract by mutual agreement. Kerwin will be in Hastings one day a week, work offsite and be available online. Hearing the cost, Councilman Bill Redman said, “Kinda stiff, isn’t it?”
“We would like him to be here more often, but he’s doing a good job…he is extremely well qualified,” Mansfield said. Kerwin lives in Big Rapids and the drive time is two hours, he added.
Asked about finding a permanent assessor, Mansfield said it is “extremely difficult to find anyone out there. There are not many qualified at that level.” Some cities and many townships share assessors with other municipalities, he said.
Czarnecki has agreed to serve as acting Director of Department of Public Services until the city finds a replacement for former DPS Director Lee Hays, who resigned earlier this month. Monday, Councilwoman Brenda McNabb-Stange objected when he was also named Street Administrator for the Michigan Department of Transportation.
Czarnecki is supposed to be training with City Manager Jeff Mansfield to become city manager when Mansfield leaves the position, and now he’s talking on a new job three months before Mansfield leaves, McNabb-Stange said. “That’s just the wrong thing to do.”
“Jerry can do it, it’s light duty, just signing forms for the MDOT…It’s not ideal, we’re doing the best we can. It’s the best plan we could come up with and he’s doing a great job.” Czarnecki said he was comfortable taking the new job; the vote to approve it was 7-2 with McNabb-Stange and Councilman Al Jarvis voting "no". Mansfield was urged to expedite the search for a new DPS director.
In other business, the council:
*approved paying $50,168.80 as the final payment to do with Safe Routes to Schools project engineering services by Williams & Works. The city disputed some charges put forward by the engineering firm and negotiations with Dave Austin from the firm resulted in the agreement on the final payment.
*heard the city spent $15,045 for emergency repairs to the Hastings Fire Department aerial truck to keep the equipment in service. Money can be spent in such an emergency, but the council has to be notified.
*approved spending $15,384 for three Optima QLS raw samplers to replace three at the wastewater treatment plant that are 12 and 13 years old.
*approved holding the eighth annual Gus Macker 3-on-3 basketball tournament in downtown Hastings on July 12-14.
*adopted ordinance 565 to rezone all parcels on Woodlawn/Broadway from A-O Apartment Office to B-4, West Business District and also ordinance 566 to allow additional housing in the B-1 Central Business District, both recommended by the planning commission.