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BE street project gets OK and grant

By Staff | Jul 26, 2015

The Blue Earth City Council learned that the 21st Street paving project is a definite go.

“We just received a letter of confirmation from the state that our grant application for the project will be fully funded,” city administrator Tim Ibisch told the council at their meeting last Monday night. “The total amount of the grant is for $662,648.”

That figure was the engineer’s estimate for the total cost of the street project.

Then the council learned that there were three bids received for the project work and all three were under that engineer’s estimate.

The council accepted the lowest of the three, which was from Erosion Control Plus, Inc., of Winnebago, in an amount of $548,956.87.

The other bids were from Rehnelt Excavating of Kasota ($569,984) and Dirt Merchant, Inc., Mankato ($628,445).

Councilman Marty Cassem inquired whether any of the extra grant money could be used for other items involved with the project, such as engineering fees.

“We can’t use the money for some of those things,” Ibisch said, “but it will give us a cushion for any cost overruns or unforeseen added construction costs that sometimes come up.”

The council voted to accept the grant money and to award the bid to Erosion Control Plus.

The council also took care of several other financial matters at the meeting, including one item that has a total of nearly $4 million.

After hearing a report from Springsted, Inc., and holding a tax abatement hearing, the council put into motion the sale of $3.95 million in general obligation bonds.

The bond proceeds will be used to finance the recent Second Street Improvement Project, at $1.985 million and the North Business Park project at $1.95 million.

The bond sale will be conducted on Aug. 14, Doug Green of Springsted said.

“I anticipate a lot of interest in this bond,” Green said, both because of its size and the city of Blue Earth’s excellent bond rating. “I would expect four, five or six bidders.”

The council also voted to follow a recommendation from the Blue Earth Fire Department for the purchase of a new thermal imaging camera.

Total cost of the camera is $8,643.39.

However, Blue Earth fire chief Roger Davis told the council that after a grant from CenterPoint Energy for $2,500 and two other grants for $625, the actual cost to the city will be $4,893.49 and that amount will come out of the department’s capital expense budget.

In other business, the council:

Discussed some requests from residents of the Royal Acres neighborhood to have their driveways repaved and the cost put onto their assessments for the street and utility project.

The council said it would be alright for the residents to have the work done, but not to have it added to the assessment roll, calling it public financing of a private project.

However, they sent the matter to the Street Committee to discuss at their next meeting and to come back to the council with a recommendation.

Was introduced to Beth Moss, the new assistant director at the Faribault County Development Corporation.

Moss, who lives in Easton, began her duties last Monday.

Said OK to issuing a temporary beer permit to the Faribault County Fair Board to serve beer during the fair.

They also authorized a raffle permit for the Habitat for Humanity group who plans to raffle off a children’s playhouse during the fair.

They also said OK to the American Legion to block off Sixth Street between Main and Nicollet streets in order to hold a pancake breakfast on Aug. 1.

Had the first reading of a revised assessment policy.