Matt Hansen of Willett, Hofmann & Associates updates the Prophetstown council on the well and water treatment plant project.

Prophetstown Approves Engineering Extension for Water Treatment Plant

By Sarah Ford, AP Staff Writer

As the City of Prophetstown’s new well and water treatment plant nears completion, so does the payment process for the costly infrastructure project.
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At the council meeting on Tuesday, April 9, Matt Hansen of Willett, Hofmann & Associates asked the council to approve an engineering extension agreement and an additional $49,000 so they can get the project finished this spring.

Hansen provided a general synopsis and update on the water plant project and well #5, which was supposed to take a year to finish once construction started in March 2023. The company began engineering the designs in 2018 and had it ready to bid in 2020, though it would be delayed with Covid-19. They tried for a Rebuild Illinois infrastructure grant but were unsuccessful, so they went with an IEPA loan program. The total project cost was $6.3 million, with the city receiving an IEPA grant for $1.25 million and securing a 30-year IEPA loan for $5,690,987.

Hansen stated that the inflation of 2022 and salary increases to retain contractors impacted overall project costs. The EPA also required an apprenticeship program for state grants. For every prevailing wage employee, they had to invest 10% in an apprentice to get reimbursed. Hansen estimated 15 months of apprenticeship tabulations and reports based on this employee formula.  

The original engineering cost agreement was $442,500 and the amended agreement is $488,401.70, which includes changes to construction engineering and IEPA loan application documents. The original construction engineering fee was $215,000 but was increased to $249,000 with fee changes. Construction costs are down by $82,000 under the city’s loan agreement budget, which will bring the annual payment down by $3,100, Hansen reported.

He also estimated that they’ll be “close to done with everything” at the water plant by the end of May. “The big hurdle this week is working out the bugs,” he said, noting there’s miles of wiring at the plant. Some of the last to-do items are finishing the piping, abandoning well #3, and demolishing the old well building. The company needs the city’s approval on the engineering extension in order to request money from the EPA.

Alderman Ryan Inskeep said to look at positive side, since the total amount of the project will cost $3,100 less than originally anticipated and it’s still below the IEPA loan amount. The motion to extend the agreement and pay the additional costs was approved, with Alderman Greg Schmitt the only no vote.

In other action, the council approved an ordinance to reimburse Whiteside Properties LLC (IMH) $200,000 in TIF District Funds for project costs. They also approved two resolutions allotting Motor Fuel Tax (MFT) money for use in 2023 and 2024. Mayor Steve Swanson identified a few other streets and an alley for work this year using Cares Act funding, since projects must be committed by the end of this calendar year and funds disbursed by February 2026.  

Swanson reported that the city received letters of support from all taxing bodies for the TIF extension. The next step is to meet with State Senator Win Stoller and start the legislative process.  The city also received a preliminary dedication plat for the recently acquired agricultural land (Halpin property), so the Zoning Board needs to meet and approve the final plat. The council will convene for a special meeting within the next few weeks to discuss and approve the budget for 2024.  

Building permits approved were roofing at 811 Washington St.; fencing at 40 Meadows Ct.; deck at 16 Prairie Park Drive, vinyl siding at 110 Douglas St., and a privacy fence at 404 East St. 

Registration for side-by-sides and golf carts will be on Saturday, April 20 from 9 a.m. – noon at the public works building.

Police Chief Jerrod Reynolds reported 88 service calls in March. Officers are training on a new statewide computer system, old reports are being digitized, and school floor and safety plans are being compiled and placed in squad cars and given to surrounding Swat teams.

Police car computers have been switched to First Net and services are noticeably better – they’ll be saving $66 a year by switching over from Verizon. Reynolds is working on vehicle seizures to clean up the impound yard, and he sold former Officer Abell’s gear and uniforms to Chief Strike in Tampico. Officer Lukehart has been working at the school, and Officer Miller is out of the office due to medical reasons.

Swanson thanked the Public Works crew, police officers, and fire departments across from Whiteside County for helping with the funeral procession on Thursday, April 4. The city had to get a state permit for the detour route.  

The next City Council meeting will be on Tuesday, May 13 at 7 p.m. at the City Hall.

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