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The Rundown – City awards contract for dam replacement

Post Date:11/27/2019 12:07 PM

The Rundown is prepared by the City of Newton Public Information Office to summarize the City Commission meeting and does not represent official Commission minutes.

7 p.m. Nov. 26, 2019, Newton City Commission meeting

At Tuesday night’s meeting, the City Commission approved a contract with Dondlinger Construction for replacement of the Sand Creek Dam’s rubber bladder and any other necessary repairs.

The inflatable rubber dam developed a significant leak in July after frequent heavy spring rains caused it to raise and lower repeatedly. City staff and engineers from Professional Engineering Consultants determined that replacement of the rubber dam would be the most cost-effective solution. Total cost of the project is not to exceed $435,545, including $167,100 for the bladder itself.

Ryan Glessner of PEC explained that a concrete dam with mechanical gates would cost millions of dollars to install, and the mechanical equipment would likely have similar lifespan and maintenance requirements of the inflatable dam. The current bladder was in place 30 years with very little maintenance required.

Manufacturing and delivery will take four to six months, so the dam replacement won’t occur until around June. In the meantime, the contractor will bring in a crane to remove the existing bladder, and engineers will evaluate the condition of the concrete base, clamping plates and anchor bolts.

The project had been programmed in the City’s Capital Improvement Plan for $600,000 in 2020. It will be bonded, with the debt service payments to be made from the sewer budget.


At a work session prior to the business meeting, City Commissioners discussed possible changes to the City’s recycling collection service after the Harvey County Commission removed the mandatory requirement to recycle within the county earlier this week.

The County’s contractor, Waste Connections, this summer reported an unacceptable amount of non-recyclables being dumped in the recycling. Waste Connections has now stated that beginning Jan. 1, if a truckload of recyclables is delivered to the Recycling Center with more than 10% non-recyclables in it, the entire load will be rejected and that truck/driver may be rejected for up to 30 days after. If it happens again after the 30 days passes, that truck may be fined $350 and again be rejected for another 30 days. When a load is rejected, the contents will be taken to the Transfer Station with regular trash.

Recycling is a benefit for the City, not only because of keeping more waste out of the landfill, but also because dumping recyclables costs less. In 2020, the City will pay $19 a ton to dump recyclables vs. $35 a ton to dump trash. But these new requirements from Waste Connections could significantly change the cost balance.

City staff will be evaluating the options, which may include keeping mandatory recycling, offering voluntary recycling with a new rate structure, or changing to trash pickup only. The issue will come back to the City Commission to consider, but likely not before February. Until a decision is made, mandatory recycling will continue for Newton residents.

Park maintenance facility

The Commission directed staff to bring back a new negotiated lease agreement for the Parks maintenance facility at 205 S. Meridian and options for future housing of the Parks Division. In June, the City Commission had moved forward with architectural plans for a new maintenance facility to be built on City-owned property at First and Boyd at a projected cost of $1.7 million.

With increased prices for materials and significant earth work needed at the site, the estimated cost from the architect came back at $4.2 million. Commissioners said the new cost was simply too high and the City would need to continue leasing the current building for at least the next year while developing a plan for the long-term future.

Community recognition

The Commission honored Harvey County Parents as Teachers for receiving a Blue Ribbon designation from the National Parents as Teachers Center in recognition of continuous quality in services to children and families.

In other action, the City Commission:

  1. Received certified results of the Nov. 5 City Commission election from the Harvey County election officer. Richard Stinnett will receive a four-year term with 1,806 votes, Clinton McBroom will receive a four-year term with 1,553 votes, and Rod Kreie will receive a two-year term with 1,473 votes. The new Commission will be sworn in Dec. 10.
  2. Authorized the issuance of Hospital Revenue Bonds on behalf of Newton Medical Center for a planned renovation project.
  3. Approved an agreement with the Kansas Department of Transportation for improvements to the K&O Railroad crossing at East Eighth Street.
  4. Received a report on a KDOT traffic study of pedestrian activity on West 12th Street near Newton High School. The study is expected to be complete in February.
  5. Approved staff assistance for fundraising efforts for ballfield improvements at Centennial Park.
  6. Received a report on planned landscaping improvements to the roundabout on Broadway Court.

For more information, please contact Director of Communications Erin McDaniel at 284-6055 or