city council

Rising construction costs expedite project bidding

Council encouraged to take bids soon

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At the Nov. 5 meeting of the Lake Preston City Council, engineer Dennis Rebelein, head of wastewater development at Banner Associates of Brookings, went over details, including cost estimates for Phase 2 of the city’s planned water, sewer and street project. In 2017, council members decided to break up the project into two phases, the north part of town and the south part.

Phase 1 is not under construction yet but is due to be bid soon. Cost estimates are based on current bid prices. Rebelein said it will more expensive than original estimates because of a substantial increase in construction costs since 2017.

“We are doing our best to estimate conservatively, but we want to have adequate resources available,” he said.

Rebelein advised that the city should take bids for Phase 2 soon, because costs will continue to increase.

Cristina Crouse works with Greg Magg from First District Planning in Watertown and was also present at the meeting. Crouse stated that she only works with loans, not grants, and explained conditions of a 30-year loan financial package. If the council approves applying for the financial package, they can choose later not to accept it.

Rebelein said that there have been four times the usual requests for financial assistance this year for this type of project across the state, about $2.9 billion.

The council passed motions for resolutions to apply for financial assistance for water and sewer portions of the project.

City employee Brian Zeeck presented video footage of the storm sewer, showing several leaks, including two “gushers” and explained plans for repair work. He also reported that the city workers took care of a problem with the museum drain. He said the street sweeper is broken down, but they have gotten parts to repair it. The city crew has also been working on potholes and alleys around town, and they have winterized the swimming pool. Zeeck also noted that the city rubble site would be closed for the season on Nov. 13.

Council members approved a suggestion by City Finance Officer Brenda Klug to send city residents a text or voice mail to keep them updated on city happenings such as water leaks or roadwork. These messages will only be sent to residents who wish to receive them.

Councilwoman Kristen Longville commented that a couple of businesses in town have broken windows and wondered if nuisance property rules should apply to businesses as well as residences. She said it has also has been brought to her attention by someone outside the community that people do not always know where some businesses are, and there should be better signage for local businesses. Consensus was it is up to the business owner’s discretion if they want to put up signs or not.

Council approved the renewal of the following alcohol and beverage licenses; New Horizon Lounge, on and off sale; The Other Bar, on-sale and packaged off-sale; and the Porter Rich American Legion Post, #63, off-sale.

Council accepted the high bids for several surplus items. Randy Nesseim had the high bid for a 1974 Massey Ferguson tractor and blade at $1,562. A 72” Hustler mower went to Jeremy Woodcock with a high bid of $2,000. Woodcock also had the high bid of $1,800 for a 60” John Deere mower, as well as $350 for a 6’ Buhler mower and $2,000 for a 60” Bad Boy mower.

Council approved a loan reimbursement request from Banner and Associates for just over $103,0000.

Mayor Andy Wienk reminded council members that city employee evaluations must be completed by the end of the year. The personnel committee will meet prior to the December meeting. Council read and approved a nuisance property ordinance. Council member Brian Verhey was not present but called in to the meeting. He stated that people are not going to take any nuisance property complaints seriously until all the council members clean up their own properties.

The public portion of the meeting ended with an executive session for personnel. When council came out of executive session, they voted to remove Ward I councilmember Gary Buer for allegedly not fully representing his ward. They will appoint a new Ward I council member at the December meeting. There was a roll call vote, with Longville abstaining. All others were in favor of the motion.

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