The Blue Earth City Council learned last Monday night the cost for their street and utility project for 2014 is expected to top the $2 million mark.
On the schedule for later this spring is the reconstruction of seven blocks of Second Street, from Holland Street east to Gorman Street.
Monday night city engineer Wes Brown, of Bolton and Menk Engineering, said the estimate for the project is at $2,087,003.
The total is broken down for $1,161,381 for street improvements, $142,514 for storm sewer, $475,692 for watermain replacement, and $307,417 for sanitary sewer.
According to the city's assessment policy, property owners along Second Street will be responsible for $467,079, or about a fourth of the overall cost of the projects.
Assessments to individuals along the street can be as much as $7,000 to $11,000.
Property owners will have a chance to ask questions about their proposed assessments at a public hearing scheduled for March 3 at 5:05 p.m. at the Public Safety Building.
Brown says the figures are preliminary at this time, but are set at $70.63 per foot for street construction, $9.01 for each foot of sidewalk, $1,650 for each sewer hookup and $1,916.40 for each water hookup.
The council spent some time at the meeting discussing the block of Second Street which is on the north side of the courthouse.
Currently there are 37 diagonal parking stalls on the street which are used by the courthouse.
"That block is only 52 feet wide," Brown told the council. "In order to keep diagonal parking on bothsides of the street we will have to make the street 60 feet wide."
The other eight feet would come from the properties on the north side of the street, Brown says.
"We would take it from the boulevard area on that side," Brown says. "And it would mean the removal of several trees."
Even adding eight feet the number of stalls would be reduced from 37 to 33, Brown says. Going to diagonal parking on the south side and parallel parking on the north side would result in 27 spaces.
Plus, the cost of making the street an extra eight feet wide is estimated to be $15,000.
That cost might be assessed to the county, the council was told.
After much discussion, the council voted to add the extra width, make the street 60 feet wide and keep as many parking spaces available as possible.
"This would be our recommendation now," Mayor Rick Scholtes says. "We can always modify it back down if we decide to later."
The council also discussed the possibility of the county putting in a parking lot on the east side of the courthouse, across Main Street.
City administrator Kathy Bailey was instructed to attend the next day's County Board meeting and present the city's plan.
At a work session held prior to the regular meeting, the City Council spent some time studying the agreement between the city and portions of neighboring townships to financially operate the Blue Earth Fire Department.
Bailey says the formula for figuring who owes what has changed over the years. Currently it is very complicated.
"We also have worked out an agreement on paying for the new tanker truck," Bailey says. "Basically the city will pay one third while the townships will pay two thirds."
Total cost of the tanker was $99,989 which means the city will pay $33,326 and the townships will split the other $66,662. It works out to $573 per section.
The townships have $39,000 in a truck fund.