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County to pay half of demo

By Staff | Feb 8, 2015

The Faribault County Board of Commissioners had a full agenda at last Tuesday’s board meeting.

Winnebago City Administrator Chris Ziegler delivered the final bill for the demolition of two buildings on Main Street in Winnebago.

The demo, which took place Jan. 14, cost a total of $147,264 after paying some of the restoration costs.

Late last year, the County Board had passed a motion agreeing to cover 50 percent of the cost for the demolition of the former Outlet Store building. That 50 percent now adds up to $73,632.12.

Engineers discovered that in order to take down the Outlet Store, the former SuperValu building directly south of the Outlet Store had to come down, too, as the structural integrity of both buildings depended on one another.

The Winnebago city council hired two separate engineering contractors for the project.

Bolton and Menk, the designated city engineering company, took care of building evaluations, bidding, contracting and the final bid award.

Bolton and Menk awarded the project to M.A.A.C. Inc., a contractor from Montevideo, to complete the actual demolition.

In addition to Bolton and Menk and the M.A.A.C. Inc., contractors, the city also sought out LS Engineering to conduct an examination of the shared wall between the two buildings.

“I know the amount of engineering in this project is high, but I thought it was important considering the number of unknowns with shared walls and structural issues,” Ziegler said.

The two buildings posed a safety threat to anyone in the vicinity, including the other neighboring buildings.

Now that the threat has been eliminated, the city is responsible for clean up, which includes handing over a check for $44,600 to the owner of the Hardware Hank store next door.

The city has agreed to pay for the restoration and weatherizing of the north wall on the Hardware Hank building for up to $44,600.

“I do not agree with using a separate engineer for structural bids and I have problems with the cost of restoring and weatherizing that wall,” said Commissioner John Roper. “The $44,600? Do we play a part in paying that?”

A few of the other commissioners also expressed their concerns over the high price for demolition.

“I?would hate to see us get involved on what I consider ‘improvement projects’ in what should be handled between the city and the owner of the building,” said Commissioner Greg Young, referring to the nearly $45,000 bill to restore one remaining wall.

“We shouldn’t place this burden on our constituents,” he adds.

Commissioner Tom Warmka agreed with his fellow commissioners, saying that the County Board should have had more of a hand in the decision for who to hire to complete the project.

Commissioner Tom Loveall voiced his concerns as well, stating that both the county and the city need to be more proactive in the future so this problem does not arise again.

“I think we’ve been lightly budgeting for it, but we need to think about a bigger budget and start looking ahead 10 years to what Faribault County will look like in terms of demolishing old buildings,” Loveall said.

The commissioner made a motion to form a committee to continue working with the City of Winnebago on this particular tax forfeiture and demolition issue.

After the motion passed, Chairman Bill Groskreutz, Jr., appointed commissioners Young and Loveall, County Auditor John Thompson and County Attorney Troy Timmerman to work with the city for the remainder of the project.

In other news, Faribault County Engineer John McDonald made his final appearance before the board before he begins his new job in Duluth.

McDonald submitted a request that would authorize the county engineer to sign on behalf of Faribault County concerning the funding of various Farm Service Agency programs.

According to McDonald, a 20-acre piece of land in Kiester Township is eligible to receive funding from the FSA to implement an assortment of programs, which were undisclosed at this meeting.

“I’m going to vote against this resolution because it should be signed off on by Chairman Groskreutz or John Thompson,” said Commissioner Young.

The other commissioners agreed with Young, but the motion passed, 4-1, after they were assured that the commissioners would still be part of the decision making process.

Another motion was passed by the County Board concerning the approval of Dr. Terrance Cahill to serve another year as county coroner.

This year, Dr. Cahill will impose a $75 fee for each body that he authorizes to be cremated.

Cahill works for the Sheriff’s Department voluntarily and he will continue to work under those conditions, but now he requests $75 per authorization to be paid by the funeral home conducting the cremation.