homepage logo

No decision on BE street projects yet

By Staff | Apr 27, 2015

While the bids are in and are lower than expected the Blue Earth City Council again postponed a decision to accept one of the three bids for this summer’s street and utility project.

The council had previously postponed a decision at a special meeting the week before, and at last Monday night’s regular meeting, the matter was again tabled.

“I just think we have too much on our plate for this year,” councilman Glenn Gaylord said. “I think we need to back off on one project. That’s my concern, gentlemen.”

Gaylord pointed out the council has plans to rebuild a portion of 21st Street and to pave an area at the airport, as well as the Smith and North Circle Drive project.

The Smith and Circle Drive work includes several blocks of underground utility replacement, as well as new street surface. It also includes several blocks where no underground utility work would be done and the street surface would be milled off and a new overlay of bituminous pavement would be installed.

Gaylord suggested not doing the mill and overlay portion of the project.

City engineer Wes Brown, of Bolton and Menk Engineering, explained the reasons for the mill and overlay work.

“The street surface is delaminating and we want to save the street,” he said. “It’s my opinion this is the best fix.”

Gaylord asked if it could be delayed a year or two, and Brown said it could.

“My only concern is the pricing,” Brown said. “We have a very good bid for it now, and we might not two years from now.”

Mayor Rick Scholtes agreed, pointing out that the estimate for the mill and overlay was $168,000, but the bid came in at $125,000. The lowest bid for all of the Smith and North Circle Drive project came from Ulland Brothers at $1.31 million, below the engineer’s estimate of $1.5 million.

The council had previously decided to have the Street Committee discuss the mill and overlay option and once again decided to wait for their report and make a final decision on the project at their next meeting on May 4.

The council did decide, however, to move forward with bids for the airport project.

They also noted that the local share of the work has been reduced from $130,000 down to $125,000, with federal and state monies covering the majority of the cost.

Councilman John Huisman questioned why the bids would be for just bituminous paving, and not an alternate bid for concrete. Brown said there was no reason, and he would check into adding it to the bid.

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

Voted to OK a request from the Economic Development Authority (EDA) for authorization to hire a full time maintenance/custodian for the Ag Center. The person could also help with maintenance work at the City Hall and the police department.

Councilman Gaylord expressed concern that this would be too much work for one person to handle. And councilman John Gartzke expressed concern the salary was too low for the amount of work to be done. The salary, with benefits, totaled $38,633.

Spent the half hour work session held before the regular meeting discussing the proposed agreement with the Blue Earth Area School District concerning mutual funding of maintenance of ball fields and tennis courts.

Discussed whether city councilmen needed to submit requests for travel reimbursements ahead of time, or after the expense is incurred.

They also authorized city administrator Tim Ibisch to attend a League of Minnesota Cities conference being held in Duluth.

Briefly discussed a proposed nepotism policy for the city which would cover whether relatives of councilmen or supervisors could be employed by the city.

After some discussion on how it would work, the council did not take any action at this time.