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Abby council agrees to look for used grader to purchase

By Neal Hogden

The Abbotsford City Council decided it was time to begin its search for a “new to the city” but used grader at the council’s meeting on Wednesday, May 15. The grader would cost in the neighborhood of $170,000 according to Public Works Director Craig Stuttgen.

Stuttgen said the current grader is on its last leg and he would not like to put more money into it if it would not be around much longer. He said he put $1,000 into an oil cooler recently and the current grader is in need of $8,000 worth of tires.

“I don’t think it pays to stick money into the tires,” Mayor Jim Weix said. Sarah Diedrich agreed.

He said parts are becoming harder and harder to find for the department’s grader but it is currently running “fine.”

City Administrator Josh Soyk said funding for the grader would need to come out of the public works capital fund and he said the city would need to wait until possibly after August to purchase a used grader.

Stuttgen said he had an opportunity to purchase a 2014 grader with 2,500 hours on it earlier this year, but did not have time to go through the council’s approval process to purchase the vehicle.

Soyk suggested taking the money out of the capital improvements fund for public works and then paying the fund back every year using the $70,000 in annual contributions the public works and water departments make towards the vehicle replacement fund until the grader is paid off.

The council approved a motion to begin looking for a used grader. Stuttgen said he would not be getting too serious about it right away, but said if an opportunity did arise where he could purchase one, he is glad to have that opportunity.

Other business

■ ■ A resident spoke during the public comment section of the meeting and asked how things were progressing with getting facilities updated at the Red Arrow Park basketball courts. Soyk said some improvements have been made but there are more to come.

The resident said he believed there had been drinking going on at the basketball courts. Soyk said there shouldn’t be without a permit. The resident was told signs could be put up informing park goers that they are not allowed to take alcohol near the basketball courts or other areas of the park without approved permits.

■ ■ The board was given an update for the Colby-Abbotsford Police Commission meeting on May 13. They were told that the police department has seen a substantial increase in police contacts versus this time last year.

■ ■ Stuttgen said in his public works update that there are a few roads that need attention. He said the city owns about a quarter-mile of Pickard Road. He said the road needed gravel and it would be about $4,000 to purchase gravel for their portion of the road in the town of Holton. He said the town of Hull would like to do the same thing on Elderberry Road but did not say how much that would cost.

Stuttgen said if the Elm Street project were to come in under budget, he has a small list of paving projects he would like to see done including: the alleyway between Fifth and Fourth Streets that runs from Linden Street to Birch Street, North First Avenue between West Butternut Street and West Spruce Street and he said if there were other small projects the council members would rather see done, he would take those suggestions. No council members offered up suggestions for other streets.

Soyk said South Fifth Street was the number one priority, however, when the LRIP funding fell through, they were unable to reconstruct that street this season. Soyk said it could be discussed at the June council meeting whether or not the city would like to pursue other forms of funding for Fifth Street.

■ ■ Soyk said a pre-construction meeting was held for two new wells that are to be installed as soon as they can get materials ordered.

■ ■ Soyk told the council the city still had $84,000 in COVID-19 relief funds that needs to be spent in 2024. He said they budgeted the funds to go towards sewer projects and therefore, he suggested the city replace the sewer main in the alley between East Cedar Street and East Oak Street, between North Second Street and North Third Street.

Stuttgen said this sewer main has had many issues recently including flow issues and tree roots growing through the pipe.

He said the materials for the project cost $10,000 and the project would need to be bid out to a contractor. He said he did not anticipate needing to hire an engineering firm, however. The council approved the proposal, unanimously.

■ ■ The council voted to approve Abbotsford City ordinance 2024-5 which created and amended regulations for possession of hemp-derived cannibinoid products.