Joplin council approves contracts for sewage system projects

Nov. 26—Contracts to authorize work on sewage system projects and to authorize a compensation plan that incorporates the new position of Assistant Director of Public Works have been approved by the Joplin City Council.

Dan Johnson, Director of Public Works, has requested approval of a change order to a construction contract with Rosetta Construction for ongoing work on the Joplin Creek Interceptor Replacement Project.

Johnson said additional problems with the large sewer line were discovered during the project. Four manholes need to be replaced due to corrosion and deterioration. One is only 30 inches wide, but the others are 72 inch manholes. Most manholes are 48 inches wide, Johnson said, adding that it takes big equipment to make the big manholes.

A crew from Rosetta is working in an area where two sewer lines are located in close proximity to each other, and while digging one of the lines, they uncovered part of the other line and noted the deterioration in the condition of the manholes.

“We decided that a (replacement) needed to be done because this is a very critical line to serve a large part of the city,” Johnson said.

There are brick lined manholes in the system where the bricks are missing and the covers are so corroded that the manhole covers no longer line up.

The change order involves costs of $138,500 on top of the original contract of $2 million.

Council Member Kate Spencer asked if the sewer lines are checked periodically. Johnson said they are, but that doesn’t happen often because it’s expensive to dig up those big lines. About five years ago, this one was last checked, he said.

In other matters related to work on the sewer system, the board gave first-round approval to a $965,000 contract with Ace Pipe Cleaning Co. to repair and rehabilitate a management system called a toolbox that was created to take care of the sewer collection system.

A $96,900 work authorization with Allgeier Martin and Associates to assist with the rehabilitation project that Ace Pipe will also work on has also been advanced to first reading. The council was informed that the toolbox system updates the city’s system GIS map and provides information for permits that go to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources regarding system operations. This information is then submitted by MNR to the Environmental Protection Agency.

In a separate action, the council filed a city compensation plan that would have added the position of assistant director of public works as part of a reorganization of the public works department.

Chief Financial Officer Leslie Haase said the position was to be funded by savings from city vacancies, which recently numbered more than 90 positions.

Councilman Chuck Copple asked if the salary listed in the plan for firefighter trainees and entry-level firefighters and the prison cook reflected the recent 4% increase in cost-of-living pay. He said some of the positions will be at a lower pay grade than Missouri’s minimum wage when it increases next year.

Haase said the city is still working on an internal equity study to place staff in pay ranges that reflect the degree of responsibility and hardship the employee faces.

She said the city manager is still working on that plan and may provide more information in the future on the pay status.

The firefighters received the 4% increase in the cost of living, but a new salary table for them has not been completed because they are still in union negotiations with the city, said city attorney Peter Edwards.

He suggested tabling the measure until the city manager is available to answer Copple’s questions. The City Manager was out of the office at the time of the meeting.

In a real estate deal, council approved a deal to sell residential land at 2300 Golf Link Road in the Iron Gates neighborhood to Joplin businessman David Powell. The city had advertised the property for offers.

The board approved the sale, and staff said the deal would close by Feb. 22.

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