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Colby to get $450K grant for 2nd Street

By Kevin O’Brien

Colby will have a $450,000 state grant to work with as it moves toward reconstructing North Second Street, one of the most frequently traveled and heavily battered streets in the city.

Mayor Jim Schmidt told the council at its Dec. 8 meeting that the proposed Second Street project has qualified for a grant through the Wisconsin DOT’s Local Road Improvement Program (LRIP), which provides matching funds to municipalities throughout the state.

The overall cost of the project is estimated to be about $1.7 million, so city officials will still have to find a way to come up with a majority of the funds for the work, including the possibility of borrowing the money.

At a public works committee meeting in August, the stretch of Second Street between Adams and Spence, was identifi ed as the city’s top priority for rebuilding the roadway and replacing water and sewer lines.

“We need to start thinking about what we’re going to do about that street,” DPW Harland Higley said. “It’s the worst street in town and it’s the highest-traffic area we have.”

At last week’s meeting, Higley told the council that he plans on seeking bids in January for an engineering firm to design the project, so the specs are ready whenever the city comes up with the full amount needed for the work to be done.

The city has until 2025 to use the grant money for the project, Higley said.

The council passed a motion authorized Mayor Schmidt to sign the paperwork officially accepting the grant.

Other business

_ The council approved wage increases for three members of the Colby-Abbotsford Police Department. Secretary Jessica Weich and Lt. Alex Bowman each got a 75-cent-per hour raise, bringing Weich up to $18.75 per hour and Bowman up to $26.87. Their health insurance deductibles were also increased to $1,000.

Police chief Jason Bauer was granted a raise of $1.48 per hour, bringing his salary up to the equivalent of $34.50 per hour. His stipend for not taking the department’s health insurance was also increased from $350 to $500.

_ The council approved the city’s water and sewer utility budgets for 2021.

_ The council approved an update to the city’s multi-hazard mitigation plan, following recommendations by Clark County Emergency Management. The plan is required in case the city ever wants to apply for FEMA funding.

_ The council approved $50 chamber of commerce gift cards for each city employee as a Christmas gift, a $25 increase over last year’s gift.

_ The council renewed its contract with Johnson Block to do the city’s 2020 audit at a cost of $17,800 — an increase of $800 over this year’s price. When asked about bidding out auditing services, city clerk Connie Gurtner said the last time that was done, the average prices from other firms was around $25,000.