Delays in new city hall have Winsted council concerned

November 5, 2007

By Linda Scherer
Staff Writer

The recent rains have slowed the construction progress on the new Winsted city hall.

Because the project has fallen behind schedule, the council is now looking at a possible increase in expenses related to the nasty weather associated with winter in Minnesota.

The city was hoping to have the project much farther along than it presently is. Part of its contingency planning had included a modest $10,000 to $75,000, which was to cover winter construction.

At last Monday’s special meeting, the council discussed the prospect of using up all of its additional budgeted dollars in its contingency plan, which would leave a small $36,000 padding for the unexpected.

“That could be erased so quickly. We have to stay on top of it,” Council Member Dave Mochinski told the council.

Mochinski asked City Administrator Brent Mareck to set up a meeting soon with Greystone Construction to discuss the importance of keeping the project moving and trying to get as much of the project completed as possible before dealing with freezing temperatures.

The entire city hall and lakefront promenade is estimated to cost $4 million, of which the city has set aside $320,000 for contingency costs. It has already spent $60,500 on unexpected and necessary modifications to the original plans, leaving $259,500 budgeted for other contingencies.

Overhead utilities will be put underground

Burying all of the area utilities was approved by the entire council for a total cost of $84,128, which is $9,128 above the budgeted amount, and was already included in the total to-date contingency expense.

Despite the possible additional costs associated with winter construction, the council wanted the project to move forward and not be put on hold until next spring.

In addition to the project’s utilities being buried underground, all of the buildings within the area will have their utilities placed underground at the city’s expense.

The city wanted a local contractor to work with all of the property owners involved, and selected CR Electric.

The following is a breakdown in expense for utility work:

• CR Electric to perform underground connection work for $43,500.

• TDS will move two telephone pedestals at a cost of $17,864.

(Tom Ollig abstained from voting on hiring TDS.)

• Xcel Energy to perform underground installation at a cost of $22,764 (which was previously approved).

Odds and ends

In other business, City Clerk/Treasurer Deb Boelter suggested a time capsule be put together for the new city hall. There was some discussion, but nothing was confirmed.