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City gets good news on street project bid

By Staff | May 11, 2009

The Blue Earth City Council got some good news about city financial matters at their regular meeting last Monday night.

After battling with budget cuts for many weeks, the city learned that a bid for the street and utility work on Eighth and Moore streets came in over $100,000 lower than expected.

Engineer’s estimates put the cost of the project at $859,000, but the low bid on Monday was $749,279. It came from Heselton Construction of Faribault, and was the lowest of the seven bids received.

“Blue Earth hasn’t dealt with this company in the past,” City Engineer Bill Sayre said. “But we have checked them out and found them to be a reputable firm.”

The council voted unanimously to award the bid. Construction on the five block project is expected to begin this month.

A vote on two purchases for the airport was not unanimous, however.

The project has two parts – a backup generator at a cost of $30,000, and a credit card fuel purchase system for $20,000.

The state would pay for 70 percent of the generator, and 50 percent of the credit card reader, leaving the city’s share for the two at $19,000.

Mayor Rob Hammond suggested that the city’s part could be covered by the federal airport funds the city receives – $150,000 per year.

The council debated the need for either item. City Administrator Kathy Bailey said the items have been on the capital improvement plan for five years.

The credit card reader would make it possible for pilots to purchase fuel at the airport anytime of the day or night, whether any staff is there or not.

The generator is needed to keep the airport open and operating when there is loss of electrical power.

Councilmen Les Wiborg and Dan Brod voted no on the motion to proceed with the items.

A third major project discussed at Monday’s meeting involves the city’s sewer system.

Phase II of a multi-year plan was explained by Kelly Yahnke from Bolton and Menk.

The project involves pre-treatment of waste from the industrial park, and the majority of the cost would be borne by industrial users, Yahnke stated.

The overall project has an estimated cost of $2.2 million, Yahnke said. The city is in line for a $690,000 grant for part of the funding, which would come from river cleanup funds.

In other business at Monday’s meeting, the council:

– Heard a report from UHD Administrator Jeff Lang concerning the proposed clinic expansion project.

– Discussed the city’s continued involvement with Go Minnesota. Lang, a member of Go Minnesota’s board, told the council three excellent candidates for the director’s position will be interviewed soon.

– Voted to go ahead with mosquito spraying this season, after hearing a report from Rich Welter of Mosquito Control of Iowa. The council had considered not having the spraying done this year, at a cost of $12,000, as a budget cut item.

Welter offered to discount the amount if the council agreed to a 3-year contract, but they declined the offer.