McClure tells council he will attempt another test April 7

March 31 was designated as Iowa’s storm warning test day. But all was silent in Bloomfield, Drakesville and Floris. Only in Pulaski did the siren go off.

Fire Chief Jeff McClure told the Bloomfield City Council April 1 he has not yet discovered what went wrong, but said, “We have to get this fixed; all that equipment is protecting the public.

“Last fall I had four storm sirens (in Bloomfield) working. Every time we need these, they’re broken, and I just signed a service agreement with Frontline Warning Systems.”

Assistant Police Chief Zach Dunlavy added that a line is apparently broken between the radio tower and dispatch, leaving officers also unable to communicate point to point with other counties.

The warning sirens are set off by dispatchers at the Law Enforcement Center, or by McClure at the fire station.

McClure said he and dispatch would both attempt to set off the sirens during a late morning test on Wednesday, April 7, as they try to locate the problem.

Matt Wildman, HR Green representative who works with communities on water quality, reported that a survey and public information materials are being prepared to educate Bloomfield residents on the need to reduce sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs). The city does not want water from gutters and sump pumps going into the sewer system, which is not prepared to handle large amounts of rainwater.  

“The bottom line is, the more clean water we can keep out of the system, the lower sewer rates will be,” Wildman said.

To help identify areas of concern, Bloomfield residents will be asked to fill out questionnaires on sewer backups, downspouts, sump pumps, basement floor drains, foundation tile, etc.

Mayor Wiegand said residents are being asked to answer the questions honestly and would not “get in trouble” for telling the truth.

DPW Richard Wilcox said if residents have questions about the survey, they should contact the city and ask for an onsite visit to help with completing the survey accurately.

The city must eventually reduce the amount of clean water going into the system to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Consent Order.

After another discussion on locking in interest rates for the FY22 streets project, the council agreed to lock in rates for $1.5 million in bonds, but will “pull out” streets in the TIF district.

Heidi Kuhlman of Northland Securities told the council if they wanted to lock in rates she needs to know what streets will be included in the agreement and the engineer’s estimates for each street.

The council plans to vote on locking in the rates at its April 15 meeting.

DPW Richard Wilcox reported on progress at the wastewater treatment plant. Workers will be removing sludge from one of the cells this week, then construct a berm in cell #1, dividing it into two lagoons.

Wilcox said sealcoating of streets not completed last fall would be done this spring.

Development Director Tammy Roberts said City Attorney Gayla Harrison has delivered the deed to 112 and 113 S. Madison Street to Goodhill, LLC. The stabilization of the buildings “looks good,” she said and new owners, Levi Good and Justin Hill are pleased with the work.

In other action, the council:

• approved local police working for the school on prom night;

• learned that Mercy Hospital would be landing a helicopter at the fire station for training;

• met Tori Ward, who will be serving as interim Main Street Director for six months;

• agreed to sell an undeveloped street to Barry and Dana Day for $1. The Days plan to build a garage on the property.

• approved payment of HR Green invoices totaling $38,892.12 for the wastewater treatment plant, the sanitary sewer master plan, and for professional services on the SRF sponsored water quality project, which will be funded with interest payments from the wastewater treatment project.

The meeting ended with a closed session regarding the purchase of real estate.