Belfield tables task order for Interstate Engineering, requests status of plan

·4 min read

Jul. 13—BELFIELD, N.D. — Since the City of Belfield approved a task order for Interstate Engineering Inc. last fall to provide a capital improvement plan that will act as a guide in years to come, the firm has been assessing the city's infrastructure and is about 50% completed. However,

newly elected

officials addressed the task order in Tuesday's Belfield City Council meeting, saying that they would like to see documentation on the progress.

As a way to welcome new council members, Lonni Fleck, president of

Interstate Engineering,

provided an overview of the services that the firm provides to the City of Belfield — which is known as "task order one" or a "city-wide inventory." The four major areas of infrastructure that were part of the task order include the city's water system, sanitary/sewer collection system, stormwater management and street inventory.

At a

previous

Belfield City Council meeting, Fleck noted that a document of this nature would be helpful for turnover both at the elected official level and staff level.

"... Let's face it, you're a small community and we're used to working with a small community and resources are limited... When you spend those resources, the best you can do to stretch your dollar is spend (it) at one time. And so, by doing this inventory, it sort of stops that big question mark in everybody's mind. 'Well, when was this done?'" Fleck said. "There's been a fair amount of turnover in the city at the time when we didn't know how many City Hall records there were. Turns out, there's a fair amount; it's taking us a while to get through those. But those have all been scanned and cataloged and now, we're just going through those."

The goal, according to Fleck, is to provide the City of Belfield with a published document that will help guide them and make informed decisions when budgeting for years to come.

"During the oil boom, there were some other grant funds that were available for the street networks and such, but those funds are a little bit harder to find. We certainly can try to leverage those through other means with the utility work. But again, the idea is to allow council to make proactive decisions instead of in a reactive mode, which frankly, when we react actively, costs are high and the stress level is high. So whenever possible, I think any of us appreciate acting in a proactive mode," she said.

So far, Fleck noted that they are deep in the data collection phase.

"We're literally doing block by block by block and going through the record inventory, being close to finishing up the sanitary sewer televising... But we're about 50% complete with the work that we're under contract for in the task order," she added.

Councilman Ed Braun addressed Fleck, saying that the City of Belfield has already paid 52% of the $358,000 budget to

Interstate Engineering

. He asked when the council could expect documentation of the plan.

Fleck noted that the task order was set up to take approximately 12 to 15 months to gather city data, analyze that information and schedule some stakeholder meetings with council members.

Mayor Jeff Iverson requested that the firm provides a thumbdrive of all progress made with the task order to the City of Belfield by noon Friday, July 15.

"... It seems to me like we've got a runaway train with the bills that are coming in. And I know we're new to this, so I think I owe it to all of them to make sure we understand right where we're at," Iverson said.

Fleck agreed, reassuring the council that all work will be put on hold until the council reviews the data.

Iverson made a motion to approve tabling the task order, followed by a second from Councilman Roger Decker. The motion passed 3-2 with Iverson, Decker and Councilmen Kyle Michels voting yes. Braun and Councilman Brett Northrop were opposed.

By this fall, Fleck hopes to schedule a couple hour-long meetings with Braun and Decker to show the progress of the task order thus far, along with showcasing draft exhibits and making recommendations based on priorities of the four different pieces of infrastructure. Fleck added that Interstate Engineering appreciates communication with the smaller communities that they work with, and would be willing to set up virtual monthly updates.

"... We bring these four layers together, we can make strategic decisions of what makes the most sense," Fleck said, adding that council feedback will be vital in moving forward.