Feb. 12, 2007

Delano makes settlement on Rivertown project

By Ryan Gueningsman
Managing Editor

Delano City Council entered into a settlement agreement with Copeland Building Corporation at Tuesday night’s meeting for the Rivertown project at the former city hall site.

With construction wrapping up on the project, there are several “punch list” items that remain to be completed, according to City Administrator Phil Kern.

The contractor submitted a final payment request, and the project architect and city staff have reviewed the request, recommending the city pay $135,837. It was noted that several issues, including site lighting, were incomplete, according to Kern. The recommendation withholds $19,225 until the completion of these items.

There were also a number of disputed financial items, with Copeland making claims throughout the project regarding soil correction costs, delay time, and other change order requests not supported by the project architect, according to Kern.

The city has maintained the position that the project delays have caused financial impact.

City staff and Copeland have negotiated a settlement agreement that was approved Tuesday night, which states both parties will waive their claims and agree the existing contract sum is the amount of the contract.

The council also approved a pay request from The Carpenters’ Contracting of Mound, for the build-out of the Juke Box Restaurant, for $104,217.

The owner of the Juke Box, Robert Holt, is responsible for repayment of the funds through the lease of the facility, and has also approved the request.

Kern also said the final walk-through took place several weeks ago for the housing units, with several minor things per unit needing to be addressed. Kern said the units will be available for showings and open houses in March.

Appointments to various boards named

Two special city council workshops took place Jan. 29 and 30 to conduct interviews of applicants for various city commissions and board openings.

“The caliber and quality of those interested in serving was quite pleasing,” said Mayor Joe McDonald. “It made it quite difficult to decide who to select.”

For the historical preservation committee, Robert Gruba and Brad Bruhn were unanimously appointed.

For the water, light, and power commission, Randy Keranen was unanimously appointed.

For the park and recreation committee, Heather Motzko was unanimously appointed, and Andres Sonnenburg was appointed on a 3-2 vote, with council members Brad Hotchkiss and Larry Bartels opposed.

The council also voted to expand the park and recreation committee from five members to seven members.

For the public safety commission, Cary Smith, Craig Bodin, and Tim Bettis were unanimously appointed. Mary Emery and Don Krueger were also appointed to the commission on a 4-1 vote, with Bartels voting against both motions.

For the planning commission, Steve Williams and Jon Beussman were unanimously appointed.

The city council approved all of the appointments at its regular meeting Tuesday. Members also discussed implementing term limits for the various commissions and committees, something which currently is not in place.

“I think we need term limits,” Hotchkiss said, adding that term limits lead to turnover and diversity. “It’ll give people who want to volunteer the chance to volunteer.”

City staff is currently in the process of modifying its city code, and will draft term limits into that process.

Public hearing set to discuss one-way traffic

Last year, the city council approved making Park Avenue East a one-way, eastbound. Some signs were put up indicating the change, but people have concerns it’s still not properly marked, and said people still drive the street both directions.

After review by the public safety committee, it was recommended to make one block of Third Street North between Park and Maple avenues a one-way southbound.

“We are looking at traffic that is on Park Avenue going one way will continue one way on Third Street until Maple Avenue,” commented Public Safety Director Bob Van Lith in a request to the council.

Kern said the street was initially made a one-way due to its width, and the anticipated increase in activity with the playground area.

A public meeting to discuss the proposal has been set for Monday, Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. at the activity center at the city hall.

Traffic flow charts will be available at the meeting.

Odds and ends

In other business, the council:

• approved step increases for part-time motor vehicle assistant Janice Gunther, administrative assistant Paula Bauman, and finance assistant Jennifer Willems.

• authorized the sale of retired equipment and materials to the highest bidders.

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