New construction projects or reconstruction projects can be initiated in one of two ways.
The first way is by petition, where the signatures of property owners whose abutting property frontage totals at least 35% of the abutting property frontage in the proposed project area must be submitted via petition to the City Clerk requesting street or utility improvements. Such petitions must be submitted by October 1st of the year prior to the year in which the improvement is requested to take place.
The other way projects are initiated is through recommendations brought forward to the Hastings City Council by Public Works & Engineering Department staff. This type of project initiation is more commonly observed.
Design & Development
The potential project areas are first surveyed to accurately gather the locations and layout of the City's existing infrastructure components. The survey data also assists the design team with identifying locations of existing private utilities (telephone, electric, natural gas, cable TV, etc.) as well as trees and other natural features.
The survey information is transferred to CADD (computer assisted design and drafting) computers and utilized to draw the layout of the existing infrastructure, and to layout and design the proposed improvements. The new design is developed incorporating current City specifications and standards for street and utility construction. Special care is taken in reconstruction areas to avoid trees and to blend into the existing neighborhood with minimal impact.
Once the preliminary design has been completed for each project, cost estimates based on recent years' actual construction costs are computed. Estimates of proposed assessments are also calculated in accordance to the City's assessment policy, and estimated assessments are compiled for each land parcel.
Usually in the mid to late winter, an announcement is sent out to all parties who stand to be assessed for the proposed project, and an open house/neighborhood meeting is held at City Hall to discuss the potential projects and the estimated costs. This is an informal setting where affected property owners can have a one-on-one discussion with members of Engineering Department staff. It is important for affected property owners to keep in mind that at this time, the project is in the state of being "proposed." A project does not proceed to the construction phase without being ordered by the City Council .
After the neighborhood meetings are conducted, comments and concerns received at the meeting are compiled and presented to the City Council . The City Council then proceeds to hold a public hearing in early spring in which comments and concerns can be voiced directly to the Mayor and City Council by affected property owners and the public at large. During the public hearing, the City Council takes these comments into consideration, as well as those received during the neighborhood meeting and subsequently makes the decision of whether to change any design aspects of the project, and also decides whether to order the project proceed to construction.
The public is encouraged to fully participate in the neighborhood meeting and the public hearing, not only to participate in the process and make their views known to the City Council , but also to assist the engineering staff in preparing the most beneficial and cost effective project design.
Final Design & Construction
If the City Council authorizes staff to proceed with carrying out the project, work on the final design is completed and the bid package is solicited to prospective contractors. Sealed bids are accepted by the City with the contractor with the lowest qualified bid receiving the contract. Construction follows shortly thereafter starting in early summer and finishing in late fall.
During the reconstruction of new and old streets and utilities, construction inspection is primarily performed by the Engineering Department technicians to assure that work being done in and around the City right of way is completed according to standards set by state and local guidelines. Engineering technicians also perform inspection duties occasionally for new projects that have been designed by Engineering Department staff. Questions regarding day to day operations during the construction of City designed projects are normally directed to the Engineering Supervisor, who is also the City's representative in the field during construction season.
For all new development projects, the City hires consultant technicians to perform inspection duties. These individuals work directly with the City Engineer to assure compliance with City specifications and works on an as-needed basis. The costs of these services are passed on to the developer as appropriate.
In the fall of the year after construction/reconstruction, and after all the costs are in and the warranty periods are satisfied for the project, the final assessments are prepared. A report summarizing the assessments and project funding is presented to the City Council during a public hearing whereby the final assessments are certified to the property owners. The planning and project development cycle begins again shortly afterward.