April 9, 2007

Delano council releases property to MnDOT for Highway 12 reconstruction plans

By Ryan Gueningsman
Managing Editor

In efforts to acquire right of way needed for the Highway 12 reconstruction project, the City of Delano signed a quitclaim deed to the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) at Tuesday’s city council meeting.

The land is about 279 square feet along the frontage of the property located at 122 Babcock Boulevard, the former Larson property, and is needed by MnDOT for improvements being made to the roadway in the upcoming years.

Several items discussed in executive session

Following regular business, the council met in closed session to discuss pending litigation with Chris Pratley regarding the Rockford Avenue reconstruction.

Delano City Administrator Phil Kern said Pratley is a property owner on Rockford Avenue, and is alleging the city trespassed and violated his constitutional rights when it rebuilt the road. An attorney for the city has been appointed through the League of Minnesota Cities, and is preparing the city’s defense in the matter.

Also in closed session, the council discussed the 2003 River Street interceptor construction. Kern said the contractor used a pipe that was different than original plans, which was defective.

The contractor, LaTour Construction, has now completed the work satisfactory to the city engineer’s approval, and the city authorized paying LaTour $109,900 that it had been withholding due to the defective pipe, Kern said.

Prior to the meeting, the council conducted a work session, which also included an executive session to discuss pending litigation with the contractor for the northwest interceptor project.

The contractor is asking for final payment for the project, along with additional costs incurred from an increase in the cost of PVC pipe due to Hurricane Katrina.

The city said the contract allowed for additional time to complete the project, but not for a cost differential.

Odds and ends

In other business, the council:

• approved step increases for public works maintenance workers Mike Huncha and Tim Matter.

Huncha has been an employee of the city since October 1998, and Matter since May 2006.

The council also approved a step increase for liquor store assistant manager Dale Ronning, who has been employed at the store since June 2002, and was promoted to the assistant manager position in November 2004.

• approved Matt Van Lith as the new training officer, and Willie Staunton as the new secretary for the Delano Fire Department.

“Bringing Matt and Willie into these positions, and guiding them, will help in the future of this department,” said Delano Fire Chief Bob Van Lith in a written request to the council.

• authorized a lease between the city and the Relay for Life Delano cancer society drive in Central Park Friday and Saturday, Aug. 3 and 4, and waived fees associated with leasing the park.

Last year, the event raised $103,000, and this year, organizers hope to raise $108,000.

“This is a wonderful event, and I think other cities are amazed and impressed by the amount of money Delano has raised with this event in the past,” said Delano Mayor Joe McDonald.

• granted a one-year extension, in anticipation of better market conditions, to Midwest Genesis for the Weiss Addition, which is a proposed six-lot twin home subdivision off Honeytree Drive and Wright County Road 16.

• entered into an agreement for cleaning services for Crow River Villa apartments with Tristan Matter. She has been cleaning the facility for about six months, and is there about five hours per week.

The council also entered into an agreement with Winnie Sinkel for maintenance issues at Crow River Villa, and with LeRoy Moonen to fill in when Sinkel is unable to work.

• entered into an agreement with Issacson Lawn Care for lawn mowing services on certain public land throughout the city at $696 per week.

It was noted Issacson did lawn mowing for the city last year, and that there were some quality issues, but Kern said they were taken care of when they were addressed.

McDonald also said he had heard concerns from several residents regarding lawn mowing quality issues.

A second bid was received from Meyer Lawn Care in the amount of $800 per week. The council approved the agreement with Issacson, with McDonald opposed to the motion. Council Member Holly Schrupp was absent.

• gave opinions to City Engineer Kent Torve about street lighting on 85th Street between West Ridge Hills and Parkview Hills South.

It seemed to be the consensus of the council that lighting the intersections would be adequate at this time, and there really wasn’t a cost savings to the city if it were to put additional lights along the street now versus down the road if needed.

• discussed in work session prior to the meeting that several Franklin Township residents who live on 81st Street SE have informally approached the city about annexation into the city in order to hook up to the city’s water and sewer systems.

A study was done by Torve and presented to the council on options to get the utilities to the area. The council reviewed the options, and felt it would consider the requests should the residents be willing to pay for it.

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