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Engineering firm holds rate increase to 2% for city

The city of Hudson received some welcome news from the firm that does most of its engineering work.

Angela Popenhagen of Bonestroo, Rosene, Anderlik & Associates told the City Council Monday night that the firm would limit its 2006 rate increases to 2 percent for the city.

The firm earlier had proposed rate increases of 3 to 7 percent for the various types of work it does.

The City Council protested the rate increases at its Feb. 23 meeting. Mayor Jack Breault asked Popenhagen to seek a better deal from the firm's management.

Breault and council members were grateful when she returned with the announcement that the company had changed its rate schedule for the city. Popenhagen said developers will pay the higher fees.

Council President Scot O'Malley said the city paid more than $83,000 in fees directly to BRA & Associates in 2005.

Storm water drainage improvement costly

The council learned from Popenhagen that improving the drainage of storm water from the intersection of Nye Street and Aldrich Avenue will cost an estimated $182,000 at a minimum - or as much as $620,000 if the most costly option is chosen.

The City Council had hired BRA & Associates to do a feasibility study on improving drainage of the intersection, which is prone to flooding in rainstorms.

Popenhagen said it would cost an estimated $620,000 to remove all of the storm sewer from the intersection - as well as 3,600 feet of pipe along Aldrich Avenue and 17th Street running to a drainage pond - and replace it with a larger capacity pipe.

A less costly option ($471,000) would be to lay a second pipe parallel to the existing pipe.

The option Popenhagen recommended, however, was connecting the Aldrich Avenue storm sewer to the 17th Avenue storm sewer that runs north and south. She said the engineering firm would have to do some more studying to see if that $182,000 option is feasible.

The council authorized spending another $4,000-$5,000 to study the feasibility of the least costly option.

Breault said that if connecting to the 17th Avenue storm sewer is an option, the council might find the money to complete the project in 2006.

"The water accumulation (at Nye and Aldrich) is unbelievable," he said.

The mayor seemed less inclined to proceed with drainage improvements for the block of Fourth, Fifth, Vine and Elm streets.

The least costly option there ($10,000) would be installing a flap gate to somewhat prevent water from backing up in the storm sewer and spilling into yards, Popenhagen said. But she cautioned that it wouldn't totally fix the flooding problems.

A better solution, she said, would be to install new and larger pipes draining the area. The least expensive of those options was an estimated $142,000.

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

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