Orion Village Board reviews drainage woes on 10th Street

Mindy Carls

Jason West, owner of West Concrete, asked Monday, May 2, if Orion trustees had decided whether the village could help with drainage issues on 10th Street.

West is putting up a building at 109 10th Avenue. A 60-inch concrete pipe underground on private property drains into a 48-inch steel pipe that ends halfway across West’s lot. Rainwater from half of Orion tries to flow through the pipe.

Village President Jim Cooper told West about a special meeting the previous Friday with J.D. Schulte, Director of Operations for Hutchison Engineering. Schulte was employed by the City of Moline for 30 years, rising to Director of Public Works before retiring as interim city administrator.

On Friday, Village of Orion officials interviewed Schulte about hiring him for consulting services. Cooper brought up West’s situation, and Schulte said legally Orion was not obligated to do anything but could spend tax-increment financing revenue on fixing the drainage as a community improvement.

Cooper said on the one hand West’s new building will bring in property tax revenue and water and sewer revenue. On the other hand, West knew about the drainage problem when he bought the property.

The 48-inch pipe should not have been installed to begin with, the village president said. The idea was to move a creek underground to gain more usable land.

Cooper said the tube doesn’t have the capacity to carry excess rain like a creek would. He recommended the village consider sharing some of the costs.

West told the board he wants to extend the pipe to the end of his property and have the water empty into the creek.

Street Superintendent Neil Dahl said the pipe drains both sides of the railroad tracks and hundreds of acres of farmland west of Route 150. He recommended bringing in Hutchison Engineering to look at the problem.

“If we’re going to do anything, let’s do it right,” Cooper said. The village can buy pipes cheaper than West can.

The board voted to spend no more than $1,000 to bring in Hutchison Engineering to look at the situation, which Cooper hopes will happen in time to have a recommendation for the Monday, June 6, board meeting.

If the board does hire Schulte and Hutchison Engineering for a consulting role, its employees will not direct what village personnel do, Trustee Steve Newman said. Instead, it will help the village explore what water and sewer rates should be, etc.

Schulte has helped set up a tax-increment financing district, Newman said. The village has hired a firm to help extend the life of the TIF district. Schulte would help connect community projects to the TIF district, as well as sell the TIF concept to the community.

Junk week

After Main Street Orion’s community garage sales on Saturday, June 11, the village will have four days of junk pickup. Village employees will have complete discretion about what to pick up. They will go down a street only once and look for items the regular garbage service will not pick up.

In other business

• The board decided to start at 6 p.m. when meeting the first and third Mondays of the month.

• Board members discussed retirement plans of Dahl, Water and Park Superintendent Arnie Sandberg and Sewer Superintendent Chris Lundburg. Cooper asked the employees to start putting together five-year plans with big projects they foresee, and ideas for financing them.

• Board members approved Dan Lees’ request to change the zoning at 1109 First Street from multi-family residential to commercial.

• Park Superintendent Arnie Sandberg said the new parking lot in Love Park won’t be ready for high school baseball season but will be ready for games this summer. It will have a gravel surface for a year or so.

• The board hired Nathan Lundburg as a part-time summer employee in the sewer department at $12 an hour. Board members still want to hire a part-time summer employee in the sewer department and a part-time deputy clerk.

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