Gonzalo Garcia, utilities director, discusses a new sewer camera system with the Utility Advisory Commission on Aug. 3 Photo courtesy of Rick Poppitz


Rick Poppitz
Special to The Gardner News
Utility Advisory Commission met on Aug. 3 and considered two contract recommendations to council. Staff wants to purchase a new mainline sewer inspection camera system with special trailer and installation of power service pedestals for vendors at Celebration Park.

Sewer inspection camera system
Gonzalo Garcia, utilities director, reviewed bids for a new sewer inspection camera system.
The city has had a sewer push camera since 2015, but staff advises that it is now inoperative and needs to be replaced. Besides not working properly, the current camera also requires three or four employees to operate.
The proposed replacement is a complete system, including control and monitoring software which all can be operated by one employee.
A four person selection committee had reviewed the proposals and saw demonstrations of the three proposed systems in July. On July 26, the selection committee unanimously agreed that the best offer was from Elliot Equipment Company.
Staff said that Elliot is well qualified, has more rugged equipment, more accessories, a better warranty, is user friendly and is the lowest price at $63,080.98. The other two bids were both over $66,000.
Elliot offers a two year warranty on the camera compared to one year from the other bidders.
Originally, staff had planned to modify an existing city owned single axle trailer for installation of a new system, but now has concluded that trailer is not adequate.
The trailer carries a small air conditioned room for the operator and electronics, a 3000W generator, wash station and double doors.
Staff says the single axle trailer will not support the weight and asked for a second motion to recommend approval to buy a dual axle trailer with all the equipment installed from Elliot for $15,919.02. The two year old single axle trailer will be traded in as part of that price.
Mark Baldwin, chairman, asked if the old camera unit was being used as a trade-in. Garcia said no, but staff would probably try to sell it separately.
Clint Barney, commission member, initiated discussion to explore if any less costly options were available for the trailer. “ I know you can add an axle to a trailer for less than $15,000.
Baldwin noted that in addition to the axles, the steel frame of a trailer also needs to be capable of supporting the weight.
Garcia added that the new trailer is also longer and wider than the existing trailer.
He thought it would cost around $10,000 to modify the existing trailer and would not be confident it could handle the weight long term.
“I don’t want to buy equipment and spend $63,000, do modifications on the existing trailer and then six months down the road, say ‘hey that doesn’t work’. So we need additional money to buy a new trailer. I think now is the time to get the equipment and the appropriate trailer”, said Garcia.
In separate votes, Commission approved recommendation to council to approve contract with Elliot Equipment Company for a Mainline Sewer Inspection Camera System at the cost of $63,080.98 and a trailer to house the system for $15,919.02.

Power pedestals for Celebration Park
Commission considered staff recommendation to install new service and power pedestals at Celebration Park. Similar to service pedestals at an RV park, the installation would provide electricity to vendors and park program participants.
Currently vendors have to drive on and park on turf near playing fields and that causes damage. Staff says the city will save money in the long run by avoiding repeated turf repairs and revenue from vendor rental fees.
The installation would add twelve pedestals around the parking lot nearest the playing fields on the west side. Vendors for the Smoke on the Trails BBQ competition and other events would then be able to access electricity and keep the vehicles parked on the pavement.
Three price quotes from local electric supply vendors were collected by staff, with the lowest bid coming in at $39,468.00 from Yates Electric Co., Inc.
Baldwin asked if city staff could do this themselves instead of a contractor.
Garcia said that staff could do it, but this wasn’t really their area and they have a heavy workload already with Dairy Queen, Hampton Inn and other projects ongoing. They would prefer a contractor do this job.
Garcia said the Parks and Recreation department estimates the pedestals will bring increased revenue of $10,800 per year, which would be applied to pay back this initial cost.
Commission members wondered why this item was before them when it was a Parks and Recreation project.
“If we make a motion to approve Yates Electric Company, as long as Parks and Rec pays for it out of their budget, why is it here? We have nine million dollars, that’s why it’s here,” said Clint Barney, commission member.
Barney was not opposed to funding the the installation but wanted payback terms to be spelled out. Commission had lengthy discussion about how, or if, to add stipulations, terms or details regarding parks and recreation repayment.
At one point, Barney made a motion to recommend, as long as council was told parks and rec agrees to pay back the cost within five years. The motion did not get a second and more discussion followed.
Duane Waldman, committee member, wasn’t concerned with detailing terms, saying it adds value to the park and the city as a whole.
Baldwin pondered a special meeting for further consideration but it was decided that would not suit the timeline. The Smoke on the Trails BBQ competition is Sept. 29 and 30. For this to be implemented by then requires time to process through council and then be installed. Commission felt a decision was needed tonight.
In the end, Barney made another motion that was not much different than the first. It recommends council approve the installation “with the stipulation that the parks and recreation department repay the Utilities Department for contractor costs within five years.”
The motion was seconded by Andrew Krievins, commission member, and carried with all in favor.

Quarterly Electrical Outage Report
In the second quarter 2017, there were 8 electrical power outages affecting 82 customers. 3 of the 8 were caused by animals, 3 by equipment failure and one by a storm. One was due to an unknown cause. The average response time was 21 minutes and the average length of outage was 1 hour 35 minutes.

Quarterly Waste Water Collection Repair Report
In the second quarter of 2017, line maintenance staff conducted 4 sanitary sewer repairs affecting 8 customers: 1 sewer main point repair caused by bell separation; 1 sewer main back-up caused by grease, roots, and rags; 1 broken pipe found during routine
maintenance with unknown cause; and 1 sewer main blockage caused by damage by others (found insulation, 2x4 wood, metal drywall studs, and rags). The after-hours response time was 17 minutes, and the time to clear the line was 2 hours and 8 minutes.

Quarterly Water Distribution Repair Report
In the first quarter of 2017, line maintenance staff repaired 11 water line breaks affecting 79 customers; 3 due to valve failures, 2 due to hardware failures, 2 due to water main failures, 3 due to service line failures, and 1 due to damage by others. They also repaired 1 fire hydrant affecting 20 customers. The after-hours average response time for 3 call-outs was 14 minutes, with the time to restore service averaging 1 hour and 52 minutes.