City Council to discuss water tower maintenance, open burning codes


Patrick Murphy

The south water tower, 2851 Corporate Drive, will be a topic of discussion at Monday’s City Council meeting.

By Kierra Frazier

DeKALB – DeKalb City Council will take up a consideration at Monday’s meeting for contractor bids for the painting and repairing of the south water tower, 2851 Corporate Drive. 

City Manager Bill Nicklas is recommending the award of the city painting contract to Chicago-based painting company Era Valdivia, who has made a bid of $1 million, according to the March 8 City Council agenda

Era Valdivia’s bid exceeds the fiscal year 2021 budget allocation of $850,000 by $214,270, but the Fund 620 budget could absorb the difference and maintain a positive fund balance for FY2021, according to the agenda. 

The city released a request for bids for the second time on Dec. 11, a previous one was released on May 29, but several DeKalb residents raised concerns at a July 13 City Council meeting regarding the previous bidder, Seven Brothers. Residents were concerned with the Michigan Department of Labor investigations into the firm’s prevailing wage practices, as well as safety concerns.

After the second round of bids, eight different companies submitted proposals for Monday’s meeting, according to the agenda.

City of DeKalb’s open burning codes and ordinances 

Council members will also take up a consideration to prohibit the burning of leaves and yard waste in the City of DeKalb. 

The Citizen’s Environmental Commission is requesting to amend the city’s open burning codes and ordinances. If council members come to a consensus to amend the municipal code, an ordinance to officially pass the measure will be presented at the March 22 City Council meeting.

The city’s current municipal code adopts the International Fire Code, which has certain restrictions on the open burning of leaves and garden debris where it’s kept a minimum of 30 feet from any property. 

The Citizen’s Environmental Commission believes such open burning “endangers physical health and well-being, interferes with legitimate business and recreational activities, offends the senses, [creates] public nuisances, and in other respects reduces the quality of our environment,” according to the March 8 City Council agenda

If any changes were made to the municipal code, backyard grilling and the recreational use of fire pits will still be permitted. 

Monday’s City Council meeting will be held at 6 p.m. at the DeKalb Public Library, 309 Oak St., in the Yusunas Meeting Room, or can be viewed via Zoom.