Q: I heard there was a new discount grocery store in Waterloo. Where is that?

A: Frugal Finds is at 316 W. Fifth St.

Q: Regarding the construction company working on the water main project for Waterloo Water Works on Dysart Road, which was supposed to be completed in 60 days after notice to proceed: No one is doing any work. Are they being charged days and liquidated damages for each day they aren’t getting the work done?

A: The notice to proceed was issued Nov. 22 in case the Cedar Valley experienced a favorable winter construction season. But the contractor was instructed to stop for the winter Jan. 2 because the frost depth had extended beyond the depth of the topsoil and into the subsoil below, said Water Works General Manager Matt Mahler. It is not possible to separate the topsoil from the clay, as required, under those conditions, which would make it more expensive for the utility and its customers to re-establish vegetation. Since the Water Works determined it was necessary to suspend construction, the contractor is not charged working days. The contractor still has 40 working days, as defined in the contract, remaining to complete the project.

Q: Does the DOT plan to replace the trees along Highway 63 going through Waterloo that they removed the past few years in the parking area for road construction?

A: The Iowa Department of Transportation said the trees that were removed presented a safety hazard because of their location. For that reason, they will not be replaced.

Q: Are the voting machines hooked up to the internet?

A: No. Auditor Grant Veeder said Black Hawk County’s voting machines are not connected to the internet and neither is the computer at the courthouse where vote totals are aggregated.

Q: What is the reason each state isn’t responsible for their own bridges and roads, using money from the lotto, tobacco, beer, etc. Why do they rely on the federal government?

A: Iowa’s main funding source for transportation infrastructure is the state’s Road Use Tax Fund, supplemented by vehicle registration fees, taxes on vehicle sales and the state fuel tax. County and city governments also use local taxes and bonds for roads and bridges. According to the Iowa Department of Transportation, most “federal” transportation funds are dollars returned to state and local governments collected through various federal user fees. Some programs receive a smaller amount from the federal general fund.

Q: Where does Highway 218 between Waterloo and the south side of La Porte City appear on the priority list for the DOT?

A: That stretch of U.S. Highway 218 is currently not listed for any major repairs in the Iowa Department of Transportation’s five-year construction program.

Q: Who is occupying Ridgeway Place?

A: As we reported Nov. 7, residents of House of Hope temporarily moved into Ridgeway Place while they wait to move into a new facility under remodeling at 845 W. Fourth St. The former House of Hope building at 222 Walnut St. was demolished for a new supermarket.

Calls are taken on a special Courier phone line at 234-3566. Questions are answered by Courier staff and staff at the Waterloo Public Library.

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