By Starrla Cray
DELANO, MN By 2024, the City of Delano plans to have all streets in need of reconstruction repaired, utilizing a different plan than first proposed in 2003 for the $12 million project.
At a special workshop for the City of Delano, council members discussed making changes to the original pavement management plan, which was developed with the help of professional engineering firm Bolton and Menk.
Originally, the plan was to work on one small project each year. However, budget reductions, changes in methodology, and Highway 12 construction have impeded progress.
“Highway 12 really slowed us down,” City Administrator Phil Kern said.
Instead of taking one year for a project, the average time has been 18 months, he said, putting the city about three years behind schedule.
“We’re kind of falling behind,” Kern said.
The method for reconstruction has also deviated from the 2003 outline.
According to a letter from Kern and assistant to the city administrator Luke Fischer, the logistical planning and political challenges hadn’t been taken into account when the plan was developed. The process of securing property rights, developing construction plans, as well as other factors, had become more than a one-year process.
Therefore, the council plans to group streets by neighborhood rather than do one section of a street each year.
“Our plan is to do it as efficiently as possible,” Kern said. The new method involves either doing five projects with three years between each one, or seven smaller projects with two years between each one. With work reorganized into bundled projects, the city expects to save money on consulting costs.
The 63 blocks of roadway that are between 21-50 years old will be repaired according to which need it the most. During the 2003 research, streets were assessed by overall wear and tear and were assigned ranking numbers. The city still plans to use these rankings, even though road conditions may be different that what was predicted.
“Streets might be better than what we thought,” Kern said.
According to City Engineer Vince Vander Top, streets are designed to have about a 40-year life, depending on planned use.
The projects will be scheduled to coincide with city debt that is ending, in order to have the least amount of impact on the tax levy, Fischer said.
Assessments to property owners will be decided upon after a public hearing sometime in the future. One drawback to grouping streets by neighborhood is that street conditions may vary, and people might ask for different assessment rates, Vander Top said. However, doing work street by street “becomes very cumbersome,” he added.
“Assessing is not popular,” Mayer Joe McDonald said.
About 15 percent of the reconstruction could be funded with state aid funds, Kern said. Currently, Delano receives about $170,000 per year from the state for street reconstruction. The city also receives $60,000 each year for maintenance.
Between now and 2024, there are still many unknowns, Kern said, and the pavement management plan will be updated as needed.
“It is dynamic and will be something that changes,” Vander Top added.
Electric franchise talk
The council discussed a franchise agreement with Wright-Hennepin Cooperative Electric Association of Rockford. Wright-Hennepin has been providing electrical service to Delano residents since property was annexed into the city in 2004. By law, Wright-Hennepin must have a franchise agreement with the city to continue serving Delano residents.
Wright-Hennepin had several points of disagreement in the wording of the contract.
“We’re going to continue to try to work that out with them,” Kern said. “Discussions have been very good.”
“The differences here are more philosophical,” added Wayne Bauerschmidt of Wright-Hennepin, who came to the meeting to listen to discussion
Lift station in progress
The council approved a pay request for $160,000 from Eagle Construction for the east side storm water lift station. The project is 32 percent completed, and a storm sewer pipe has been installed under Wright County Road 17. Concrete walls for the lift station have also been poured.