Humboldt DNR fine is reduced

HUMBOLDT – The city of Humboldt was successful in getting a fine from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources reduced from $10,000 to $2,000, City Administrator Aaron Burnett told the Humboldt City Council Monday.

The fine is related to delays in renovations to the city’s water plant.

During an April 16 visit to Humboldt by Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, Burnett and Humboldt Mayor Walter Jensen had made the city’s concerns known to the governor – who said he would pass them along to Iowa DNR Director Chuck Gipp.

Burnett said he had received a phone call from Gipp.

According to Burnett, the DNR is proposing a $2,000 fine that would go toward a supplemental environmental project.

Burnett said he has been in contact with county officials about where to use the money. One suggestion would be work on the trumpeter swan habitat.

“It’s disappointing that the DNR is still seeking a $2,000 fine after the response that had a lot of information and a lot of examples as to how far the city has gone to comply with the orders of the DNR,” Burnett said. “The city has been working diligently to get the water plant renovation work completed.”

In other business, the council awarded a contract to Hovey Construction for the Sumner Avenue sidewalk improvement project. Hovey’s bid of $301,742 was the lowest of two bids received. The other bid came from Godberson-Smith Construction Co., of Ida Grove, in the amount of $398,716. Godberson-Smith is involved with the Sumner Avenue Bridge replacement project.

“This is over the engineer’s estimate by about $25,000 but it seems like prices have started to creep up a little bit higher,” Burnett said.

The project involves sidewalk improvements beginning at the bridge’s edge and continuing west up the hill. The sidewalk would be moved farther away from the street and a retaining wall will be included for increased safety for pedestrians.