City Reviews Additional Fee For City Hall Renovation

By MARK EVANS

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Ste. Genevieve aldermen passed a bill on first reading last Thursday night to authorize entering into an agreement to pay an additional $8,900 in engineering and architectural fees to Bacon Engineering for the City Hall remodeling project.

Ward 3 Alderman Mike Raney and Ward 2 Alderman Bob Donovan, however, pressed city administrator Happy Welch to get more details from Bacon on how that $8,900 was being broken down before the board hears a second reading of the bill at its next meeting.

Raney asked whether Welch and the others thought it was “unreasonable” to ask for a line-item breakdown of the costs. Donovan said, “I agree with you 100 percent.”

Welch said he actually had received more details in an email from Bacon and would share that with the board.

“I don’t think that’s a bad request to make on behalf of taxpayers, to have that information,” Raney said.

Mayor Paul Hassler asked if the board wanted to hold the first reading of the bill until it had the information. It was agreed to do the first reading, then hear the additional information before having the second reading and taking a second vote in November.

The city has been looking into a major renovation of the aging building for more than two years.

WOOD UPDATES BOARD ON COVID

Jeanette Wood, provisional director of the county health department, reported that the county’s total number of cases since March was up to 362, with 67 active cases, 10 of which were hospitalized.

While Wood said that while part of the continued rise in numbers is due to increased testing, the virus is clearly increasing.

“It’s a dangerous virus,” she said. “We have to stay alert. Once it’s over with – and it will be – and we’re sitting around the table, let’s hope no one is missing.”

She warned that pneumonia is becoming a major concern. Many COVID-19 patients feel fine their first five days or so, then begin feeling ill, Wood said. Of those, a number have developed pneumonia.

Pneumonia shots, as well as flu shots are now being offered. She said 861 flu shots have been given and that she wants to see 1,000 or more given.

She said she had not been able to find a definitive answer to a  question Raney had previously asked. He had wondered whether there was any likelihood of a COVID-19 vaccine being offered to the public before it had been approved by the Food and Drug Administration or other appropriate agencies.

WELCH: RETAINING WALL WORK ABOUT TO START

During his administrator’s report, welch said that work on installing a new retaining wall on Fifth Street at Washington Street would begin Monday, Oct. 26, weather-permitting.

The collapsing retaining wall, thought to have been built in 1936, 

Cochran Engineering will be doing the work.

He also noted that the temporarily reconvened Joint Levee Commission would meet Oct. 26 to determine how best to turn land by the Urban Design Levee over to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for use as a conservation area.

WILSON, CARRIG ALSO REPORT

Steve Wilson, local manager for Alliance Water Resources, reported that  nearly 700 dump truck loads of lime from the lime ponds.

He said one of the ponds will now be reshaped “to make it more useful.”

“Right now it’s real hard to get equipment in and out,” Wilson said. That will “save us money in the long-run” he said.

Another 400,000 gallons of material was removed from the wastewater plant, he said.

He also said  all water liens have been installed in the water main project CE Contracting just seeds to come back and touch up a few yards and some asphalt will need patching, Wilson said.

Toby Carrig, tourism director, reported that the Ste. Genevieve Museum Learning Center had its “soft opening” and that the Ste Genevieve Art Guild had also opened its museum art center in the old museum building.. Additionally, Brix Urban Winery & Market, in the former Ste. Genevieve Winery building on Merchant Street, is opening.

Carrig also listed upcoming events, including the Deja Vu Spirit Reunion, Pumpkin Glow and the upcoming Hall