A number of items critical to the completion of Williston’s new international airport were approved at Tuesday night’s City Commission meeting. Most of these were routine matters, but among them was one that City Administrator David Tuan believes could put the $250 million project in the national spotlight in a positive way.

The item was a tribal coordination contract, being managed by AE2S and Ulteig at a cost of $3.31 million dollars. 

“When the FAA visited, they chose to highlight the work being done here as a model for future tribal coordination projects,” Tuan said. 

That means it could well be used across the country on a variety of other projects, Tuan added, and he credited the work that has been done by consultants for the Williston project for being so innovative. 

The tribal coordination contract took a bit of time to develop and now involves at least 10 tribes, according to Jennifer Hanley, tech manager for Ulteig and the Tribal Coordination Project’s lead. More were invited, she said, but 10 chose to actively participate. 

She would not identify the participating tribes, however, because of confidentiality issues.

“They are all Great Plains tribes,” she said. “The farthest away is Nebraska.”

The participating tribes each get to send a representative to the project in biweekly rotations to be part of the construction monitoring while the first 12 inches of excavation proceeds on the 1,600-acre site. 

“Everyone will have the opportunity to participate,” she said. “They are actually monitoring construction activities, looking at the protected sites already identified, and making sure that if anything is found in the field there’s an opportunity for the tribes to review and discuss it, and protect everything discussed.”

Hanley said she would not say if any new cultural resources had been discovered through the additional monitoring due to state and federal regulations, nor would she say how many cultural sites had already been identified.

In an earlier part of the meeting, Tuan requested a change order to add more fencing to the project, however.

“We discovered additional cultural sites,” he told commissioners, “and agencies, along with the tribes, required additional fencing that was added into the contract.”

The amount for the new fencing was $246,131.44, and was unanimously approved, as was a change order that allowed early mobilization of the project in the amount of $216,136.36. 

Other items approved for the airport included a scope of work, which aligns all the entities and spells out who is responsible for which moving parts. The costs of preparing that document can be reimbursed by the FAA.

Oversight of the project, meanwhile, had been awarded to Ulteig and AE2S as partners in April, and the City Commission unanimously concurred with the award of that contract at Tuesday night’s meeting.

Commissioners also approved a $60 million non-revolving line of credit with the Bank of North Dakota, which will help provide some cash flow for getting airport work done. While the city is being granted a considerable amount of money from federal and state sources, many of these are not paid until after the expense is incurred and the work completed.

 

Other actions:

• Approved a proposal to add small cellular communications towers to an existing ordinance regulating cell towers, and update the existing ordinance to current FCC standards. The smaller towers are useful in high-traffic areas like schools, hospitals and other gathering spots, but were prohibited under the old rule. Several companies have been exploring options to add booster towers in Williston.

• Awarded the PermEnzyme street improvement project to JMAC in the amount of $607,146.80, and awarded the Granite Peak Subdivision street improvement project to TeraFlex in the amount of $744,955 for alternative A, which included horizontal boring for pipes that will be laid as part of the project. 

• Approved the second reading of an ordinance adding the Highway Corridor Commercial zoning to its existing sign ordinance.

• Approved the first reading for an ordinance that prohibits the use of wireless communication devices, which brings the city ordinance up to state codes, and allows the city to keep the $100 fine instead of it going through district court. It was pointed out that the ordinance not only prohibits texting while driving, but also talking on a cell phone.

• Approved the first reading of an amendment to the city’s Sloulin Field parking ordinance, which allows that service to be outsourced. A later resolution adopting new fees for the parking was tabled until the second reading of the ordinance.

• Approved a first reading for an ordinance that imposes a victim impact fee on those convicted of a criminal offense in municipal court, and directs the money to go to the statewide automated victim notification system. 

• Approved street closures for Downtowners Summer Nights on Main and Crazy Night.

• Approved a motion to begin the process of seeking an extension of a 1-cent city sales tax at a special election Oct. 10 at the Williston ARC. 

• Reported that the city has nearly selected new colors for its logo, so it will be more compatible for T-Shirts, hats and other items.

• Approved allowing a hotel in receivership to retain its hotel licensing while it works on avenues of remarketing itself. as long as the entity continues to operate within the existing parameters of its license.

• Granted an easement to Oasis Petroleum, which is planning to extend gathering lines from an oil pad south of the Midway Bar east along the railroad tracks to a proposed well site that lies between the pistol range and the waste water treatment plant to a future planned well site east of 12th Avenue East between the railroad and Prairie Packing. The company was asked to coordinate with the police department when they pass under the pistol range.

• Approved three change orders reorienting a box culvert beneath Front Street on the Highway 2 project that runs from 32nd Avenue West to 11th Street. The net cost will be $279,000, about 40 percent of which will be covered by a state water commission cost share grant.

• Awarded a contract to Degenstein’s Auto for towing vehicles at a cost of $125 per vehicle, up to a certain weight. The company has provided the service to the city for the past two and a-half years.

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