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Norway to secure additional loans for water and sewer work

NORWAY — Norway is one step closer to breaking ground on a large water and sewer system improvement project after the city council awarded bids Monday.

Gundlach Champion of Iron Mountain will do $3,873,000 in work on the city’s wastewater treatment plant, while Bacco Construction of Iron Mountain will replace water and sewer mains in the streets for $4,930,196.

Construction tentatively is slated for next year.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development program initially gave the city a $2.8 million loan to improve the water system and a $1.1 million grant and $1.6 million loan to update the sewer system.

Council members learned Monday that RD has approved additional loans of $73,000 for water mains and $272,000 for sewer mains after bids came in over budget. The council, with the exception of Scott Popp, voted to accept the new loans.

As the wastewater treatment plant portion came in about $411,000 under budget, the council also had to decide what, if any, extra items they wanted to include in the project. Council members opted to add a chlorine analyzer at an estimated cost of $8,000 and decline the remainder of the extra loan money.

In other business, the council:

— Heard council member Mark Bubloni’s suggestions to look into building a structure around the Norway Spring to make it usable year-round, and to create a “park and ride” lot for semi-trucks by the city’s salt sheds. City Manager Ray Anderson said he would research the ideas and report back at the Dec. 5 meeting.

— Approved an updated Norway Area Zoning Ordinance submitted by the Norway Area Planning Commission. Most changes dealt with definitions, Anderson said, but others were necessary based on new state legislation regarding farms and mobile homes. The Norway Township Board passed the ordinance at its last meeting.

A major zoning issue the council still needs to address is Michigan’s new Medical Marijuana Facilities Licensing Act. The council likely will hold a public hearing on the matter sometime in the near future and then pass its recommendations to the planning commission, Anderson said.

— Agreed to pay FDS Engineering and Electrical Services and GoTech up to $4,847.40 to supply and install battery backup equipment at the 14th Avenue pump station, well site and high-pressure water tank.

— Declined to vacate 80 feet of Lakeside Drive north of 12th Avenue after one of the adjacent property owners objected because it would leave her with “very little parking” and be a “safety and liability concern.”

— Held a first reading of proposed new water and sewer ordinances so council members can review them and formulate questions to ask attorney Steve Tinti at the Dec. 5 meeting. The current water and sewer ordinances are more than 20 years old, Anderson noted.

Nikki Younk’s e-mail address is nyounk@ironmountaindailynews.com.

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