By Ralph Echtinaw
The W.T. Morris swimming pool won’t open on time due to a lack of interest in pool manager and lifeguard jobs.
“We’re working to try to salvage this year,” said City Manager Kurt Giles at Tuesday’s city council meeting. “We’ve also had a lot of difficulty attracting employees.”
The city has sent the usual appeals to Alma College and area high schools in search of lifeguards, who normally get 30-39 hours a week during the time the pool is open. But no one has applied. The city normally pays six or seven lifeguards $10.50 an hour, but Giles said that may be raised to $12 an hour to attract applicants.
There is also no pool director on staff, and no one has applied for that job either.
The pool may be open for fewer hours per day if enough lifeguards are not found. The city could open the pool without a pool director, but not lifeguards.
If you’d like to apply for a lifeguard job or the pool director job, follow this link to the job posting and employment application form:
The city had also been waiting for A.R. Peters Pool Painting to replace 80 square feet of tile in the pool. But Andy Peters told DPW Superintendent Mark Abbott that he has gotten busy of late, and fitting in the pool will be problematic. So the city has put off this $10,000 job until after the pool closes for the year.
“It’s shaping up to be a much different than ordinary year,” Giles said.
An existing contract with Seifert Concrete was amended Tuesday, adding $30,000 for 5,400 square feet of sidewalk replacement in various locations throughout the city.
Though Abbott solicited a bid from All Seasons Builders, too, none was forthcoming.
Jon Seifert’s bid was $5.50 per square foot.
Abbott said that’s $1.50 a square foot less than he has been paying lately.
Nevertheless, it wasn’t that long ago that the city was paying much less than $5.50 a square foot for sidewalk. “It sounds like a lot but it’s competitive these days,” Giles said. The works should be complete before July 31.
Solar power purchase
The city has made a deal to increase its purchase of electricity from solar power farms in Michigan.
Beginning next year the city will buy 0.8 percent of the Michigan Public Power Agency’s 25 megawatt block at the Calhoun County Solar Project.
Then in 2023 Hart Solar Partners is expected to go operational, and St. Louis will get 1 percent of the MPPA’s 50 megawatt block there.
The price of $42.26 per megawatt hour is locked in for 20 years.
That would be in addition to solar power the city already buys from a facility near Lennon. The city’s entitlement for that project is 0.6 percent of the MPPA’s 83 megawatt block.
“The solar generating resources we’re seeing lately are competitively priced in comparison to all existing generating resources,” Giles said via email.
The city is required by law to get 15 percent of its electricity from “renewable” sources, which means wind and solar. However, the law in question is scheduled to sunset at the end of this year, and “unless lawmakers come up with something new, we won’t have a Renewable Power Source quota,” Giles said via email.
However, the “Voluntary Green Pricing” provisions of Public Act 342 will remain in effect, so renewables will still be needed to serve that purpose, Giles said.
Councilman Tom Reed asked Abbott when residents in the vicinity of Pine, Delaware, Bankson and Watson streets can expect to have pavement replaced there.
Public Services Director Keith Risdon (who didn’t attend Tuesday’s virtual meeting) is working on a big sewer project in that area, Abbott said. But it will be at least two years before construction begins, though streets in that area are listed as a high priority need.
Pine has “short sewers on both sides of the street that are junk,” Abbott said. “It’s got a myriad of problems.”
Parks and recreation vacancies
The city is looking for two residents to serve on the Parks and Recreation Commission. The vacancies were created when Sally Church and Melissa Allen resigned. If you’d like to apply, contact anyone at city hall.
Clerk Mari Anne Ryder told the council that 727 veterans of military service are buried in Oak Grove cemetery.