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Project hits big snag

By Staff | Oct 25, 2010

David Frundt

The Blue Earth City Council learned there is a ‘snag’ on the North Main sewer project.

We broke a rule of engineering a project,” City Engineer Bill Sayre, of Bolton and Menk told the council members. “We didn’t have all of the easements signed before we started the work.

One property owner is refusing to allow an easement across his property, Sayre says.

Jim Meyer owns land in front of Blue Earth Locker, where a sewer lift station is planned to be placed.

Plus, the sewer main to the locker and other businesses was going to cross his property.

Sayre, City Attorney Frundt and City Administrator Kathy Bailey all reported that Meyer is refusing to negotiate, despite many tries to meet.

Frundt says the next option is to start eminent domain proceedings against the property, and the court will decide the easement question.

Another concern over a recent street project brought public outcry.

It came up during a public hearing concerning the assessments for both the Eighth and Moore streets, and 10th and Moore streets reconstruction projects.

While the Blue Earth City Council meeting chambers were full of residents from the assessment areas, very few had questions about the amounts they will face on their tax bills for the next 15 years.

Instead, several members of the public questioned why heavy trucks are allowed to run on the recently paved streets.

Most of the trucks in question are making deliveries to United Hospital District, the residents say.

Councilman Dan Brod told the group that the trucks are not supposed to be using the streets in question, and the hospital has agreed to use other streets for delivery.

Mayor Rob Hammond suggests the residents call Dave Classon at UHD, if they see trucks violating the agreement.

“Dave is in charge of the construction, and has told us he would tell the trucks which streets to use,” Hammond says.

Brod disagreed, saying the public should call the City Hall with their complaints.

“That is what our staff is supposed to handle, right?” he asked.

Resident Vern Tibbets says he notified the police of the violations, and they said they would be right over to check it out.

“They never showed up,” Tibbets told the council.

Hammond says better signage and higher fines might be in order.

“The maximum fine could be $1,000,” City Attorney David Frundt responded, in answer to a question.

“That would get their (the truckers) attention,” Brod replied.

The council did eventually pass a resolution to assess the various property owners for their portion of the work.

The total cost of the 8th and Moore project is $877,787. For 10th and Moore, the final total is listed as $645,933.

Of those amounts, the property owners are assessed for their individual sanitary sewer and water hook up lines, and for 30 percent of the street reconstruction in front of their property.

Each individual property owner’s water line will cost $1,174, while each sewer hook up line is $947.

The residents have the choice of paying off the full amounts within 30 days, with no interest costs.

Otherwise, the amounts are put onto their property taxes, over the next 15 years, at 4.24 percent interest.

The cost of the sewer and water mains is covered by the city, using funds from surcharges across the whole city.

Seventy percent of the street paving, which will be paid by the city, comes from a bond and property taxes.

The council also received updates on other construction projects around town, including the swimming pool bridge and the Fourth Street project.