City of Bethel Priorities for FY2020 State of AK Capital Budget

by K.J. Lincoln

Water and sewer improvements for the avenues, the Bethel Heights Water Loop A, dust control measures, and the city hall roof were approved and passed by the Bethel City Council to be on City of Bethel State Capital Budget requests for FY 2020 list.
Included in the water and sewer improvements request is the purchase of six new water trucks.
The City of Bethel council voted to approve Resolution 18-16 as brought forth by City Manager Pete Williams, which details the priorities.
On the list are: 1) The Avenues Water and Sewer Improvements for $8,250,000; 2) Bethel Heights Water Loop A – $9,024,803; 3) Dust Control Measures – $2,000,000; 4) City Hall Roof – $1,468,842.
Here are the descriptions for each request according to Res. 18-16:
#1 Avenues Water & Sewer Improvements
The Engineer firm DOWL generated a Preliminary Engineering Report and Environmental Report in June 2018 that was approved by USDA Rural Development as a precursor to a grant/loan funding package.
The Avenues project includes above-ground water and sewer connections to 112 residential and commercial customers and the purchase of six new water haul trucks.
The City of Bethel applied to the USDA Rural Development for a grant/loan to cover the cost of constructing the $13,490,000 water and sewer project in the Avenues.
The City cannot afford to pay back the proposed $8,250,000 USDA loan over 40 years and must reduce the loan amount by securing State of Alaska Capital funding. The Bethel City Council is requesting that the State of Alaska provide $8,250,000 in its FY 2020 Capital Budget to partially fund the Avenues piped water and sewer improvements and the purchase of six new water trucks.
#2 Bethel Heights Water Loop A
Bethel Heights Water Loop A, constructed in 1977, currently serves 150 residential and commercial customers. Loop A is 20,700 linear feet and has more water customer connections than Loop B. The galvanized steel water pipes are 10 years past their 30-year lifespan.
Engineer studies reveal that interior pipe galvanization has worn off, causing rust to form, sediment to clog the filters of homeowners, blocked air valves, pipes to freeze when clogged, and brown water to be delivered occasionally to end users.
Engineers warned the City not to use its “high demand pump” to facilitate water flow to fire hydrants for fear that the rushing water from its use would cause a blow-out in the weakened pipe.
The purchase and installation of HDPE (high-density polyethylene) pipe to replace Loop A and form Loop C would solve the problems identified for this section of Bethel Heights and last the community 50 years.
The Bethel City Council is requesting that the State of Alaska provide $9,024,803 in its FY 2019 Capital Budget to fund the reconstruction Loop A.
#3 Dust Control Measures
The community of Bethel is plagued by airborne dust and the ill-health effects associated with its inhalation, ingestion, and contact with eyes, ears, and skin. Purchasing and applying gravel, calcium chloride, and hydroseed to road slopes have proven to be effective dust control measures for Bethel.
The City will purchase one new water spray truck with project funds so that it can apply water to the dusty streets throughout the summer. The City must purchase and apply gravel and other implements in bulk quantities on its subdivision roads, which are currently underserved because the City has had to focus on its thoroughfares.
The City has the heavy equipment, trained personnel, and operating costs in its budget to apply gravel, calcium chloride, and hydroseed to the City’s roads, as needed.
The Bethel City Council is hereby requesting that the State of Alaska provide $2,000,000 in its FY 2020 Capital Budget to fund the Dust Control Measures project.
#4 City Hall Roof Replacement
Architects Alaska came to Bethel, assessed the condition of the City Hall roof, and produced a 19-page Existing Conditions report that recommends its replacement.
Structural engineers from Architects Alaska also determined that the sealants have failed, old roof patches are likely leaking, windows are in poor condition, and documented the heavy water damage to the interior of the building from years of water leaks.
The current R-value of the roof is 17.18, vastly different from the current energy standard of R-35. The total cost to replace the flat City Hall roof with a modern sloped roof is $1,468,842.
The City prefers to install a new roof structure that would solve the drainage and pooling problems, bring natural light into the building, and protect walkways and access ramps below by diverting rain, ice, and snow.
The Bethel City Council requests that the State of Alaska provide $1,468,842 in its FY 2020 Capital Budget to fund the construction of a new roof structure for City Hall, Bethel’s seat of government.
There was a suggestion made to move numbers 3 and 4 to the top two spots but no one made a motion to do so and the resolution remained as is.
The motion to adopt Resolution 18-16 passed by a vote of 4-1 during council’s October 23rd, 2018 regular council meeting. Voting in favor were council members Carole Jung Jordan, Mitchell Forbes, Leif Albertson, and Perry Barr. Voting in opposition was Vice Mayor Thor Williams. Mayor Fred Watson and council member Fritz Charles were out, said the City Clerk at rollcall.