Television exam for Tracy sewer system approved

City council gives OK to start phase three of street project

TRACY — A “televised exam” of the sewer and water system that is estimated to cost $33,000 will be needed before phase three of the street project can begin, a project engineer told the Tracy City Council Monday night.

“The private services need to be televised,” ISG Engineer Chris Larson said during his report to the council. “That will show if there are any illegal drain connections or cracks in the system.”

The council did unanimously approve the up-front “television exam” expenditure and the starting of phase three, but not before listening to Larson’s report.

He told the Council that the cost of the project would have to be justified to the Rural Development (RD) who is assisting with the funding, he said.

“They don’t pay you back until the first construction draw,” Larson said. “Either way, it’s money the city has to front. It will be reimbursable as a project item, though.”

He said that 20 percent of the services need to be done. They would put a beacon in the camera and mark on the surface to know where the offending locations are.

“The rest we still want to televise where they are,” he said. “Cracked service pipes affect ground water. Either way, we want to have that done before construction starts so they have more time to plan for that.”

Empire Pipe Services provided this service last time, the engineer said. It gave the estimated price of about $33,000 to televise approximately 111 services.

The next expense was from Initial Design Survey to get existing designs and grades to use as basis for Tracy’s design and use as examples at a cost of $6,800, Larson said.

“Then, soil boring will let us know what the subsurface soil conditions are,” he said. “In the past we have to defend our costs to Rural Development to show we’re not adding the Taj Mahal, but those are some of the things we need in order to keep things moving forward.”

“I’ve heard you can only get so much from grants,” Mayor Pam Cooreman said.

“Yes, there is a maximum of about 75 percent in grants. In practice, that is difficult to get that,” Larson said. “They rarely give anything over 50 percent.”

He explained that when you have 10 or 12 sub phases and some items are ineligible, it leaves the city with more items that it has to cover.

“Instead of paying for this next phase, just issue loan-only dollars, Larson suggested. “When debt service is maxed out, RD can’t fund the last few phases. They’re taking pieces of this grant and putting it on each phase in case of surprises. If you only do loan, you won’t max out on the grant so fast.”

“They appreciate how we’re going about this,” Larson said. “They want to get a good handle on what’s coming down the pipeline.”

There will be RD grants and loans and eventually state loans as well, Larson said.

“We’re working with the Public Facilities Authority, to see if there is anything on the bonding bills,” Larson said. “As far as city bonds there will be some ineligible items. But there will be some temporary bonding. The city has to make all the upfront payments and can’t make any draws on expenses until that first month of construction and the contractor asks for that first payment. If there’s any land purchases or easement needs, you guys have to pay for those upfront.”

Larson said he would help put together a proposal for the city, planning to do as much as they can in the winter so they’re ready when spring comes.