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Adding paving at plant

By Staff | May 12, 2019

Current Blue Earth Wine and Spirits municipal liquor store manager Craig Wells, left, and newly hired manager Dave Olson, were waiting to address the council last Monday night. Olson was officially hired as the new manager by the council.

The Blue Earth City Council had an unexpected expense issue to deal with during their regular meeting last Monday night.

The council learned there was a heavier toll taken on the roadways around the Blue Earth Wastewater Treatment Plant reconstruction project than what had been planned for, and that will end up costing the city some extra money.

City engineer Wes Brown explained to the council that only the roadway into the plant was planned to be totally reconstructed, while all the other roadways inside and around the plant were to have mill and overlay resurfacing.

“The pavement did not hold up during the construction at the plant,” Brown said. “I don’t think the mill and overlay will be sufficient.”

Brown presented the added costs in segments. Doing the minimum would be an added $43,000. Doing the maximum would cost $74,000.

“We do have $36,225 left in the project contingency fund,” Brown explained. “But we would still be short nearly $7,000 of doing the minimum.”

After quite a bit of discussion, the council voted to do the all the work, at a cost of $74,000 and to add the extra cost to the overall project loan.

The vote was 6-1, with councilman Glenn Gaylord casting the dissenting vote.

In other business at the meeting, the council:

Spent time discussing other city projects, including the wrapping up of last year’s Moore and 13th Street project.

Engineer Brown said the contractor crew is doing prep work to do driveway extensions and the final lift of pavement.

But, it was whether sod on the boulevards should be installed this spring or wait until later, as well as whether sod or seeding would be better, was the main topic of discussion.

The council discussed how there had been issues sometimes in the past with sod having to be replaced. Engineer Brown said that the sod would only have a 30 day warranty, and would need to be watered by residents after that.

The council also wondered whether it would be getting too late in the season to change to doing seeding.

In the end, a motion to change from sod to seed failed to get a second and the contract will stay as is.

Another project was the new housing development. Brown said the contractor is ready to go, but the ground has not been dry enough yet to start.

The council expressed concern about the delay, but Brown said it will be done as soon as the weather cooperates.

Voted to approve the hiring of Dave Olson for the position of manager of the Blue Earth Wine and Spirits municipal liquor store, and he will begin his duties the next day.

Olson and current store manager Craig Wells were at the meeting, and Wells said he would be working with Olson on training until July 1 when Wells be retiring from the position.

Went into closed session to conduct the annual review of city administrator Tim Ibisch. After an hour, the council came back out of closed session and Mayor Rick Scholtes reported Ibisch had been evaluated under 11 categories with the 11th one being an overall average rating by all the councilmen on their responses to the 10 other categories.

Ibisch was given an overall 8.21 rating on a scale of one to 10.

Passed both a vendor license for the Olson Lemonade Stand at Giant Park and a beer license for the Blue Earth Pirates baseball team at their games.

The permit for the Lemonade Stand sparked some discussion on whether the city should be licensing all of the food vendors at events such as Giant Days.

However, after quite a bit of discussion, no action was taken.

Heard from city attorney David Frundt that the Three Sisters sale should be completed on Friday, May 10. And if not, it would be sometime during the next week.

Learned the proposed city sales tax is included in bills at both the House and Senate at the State Legislature for passage into law, but the city may have to be more specific in what the tax revenue will be used for.

Passed a Small Cell Wireless Policy which covers the placement of wireless towers in the city.