By Linda Scherer
The McLeod County Road 116 turnback project for Winsted became final Tuesday, when the Winsted City Council awarded the project to the lowest bidder, Wm. Mueller & Sons of Hamburg, in the amount of $601,015.
Also, on that same day, McLeod County Board gave its approval for the project to move forward.
When the project was first introduced to the council in March, the turnback project included an overlay of County Road 116 (Third Street and Fourth Street), improvements to storm sewers, new curb and gutter where there wasn’t any on the southern portion of the road from Sherman Avenue West to Baker Avenue, and sidewalk.
The biggest controversy throughout the project was the removal of mature trees and the addition of sidewalk along Third Street, where the homes have smaller front yards.
At the July 6 city council meeting, because of resident complaints, the council agreed to remove seven blocks of sidewalk, along Third Street from Andy Avenue south, from the current project.
Although the sidewalk was removed from the project, the county agreed to reimburse the city $92,000 for what would have been the construction amount if the county had installed the sidewalk.
City Engineer Jake Saulsbury told the council the project might begin as early as the week of Labor Day, or possibly the week after.
The project should take about two months to complete. Some final work will be done next spring around St. Mary’s campus, according to Saulsbury.
Audit for 2009 presented
Paul Harvego, a certified public accountant of Conway, Deuth & Schmiesing, went through the city’s 2009 audit, highlighting several financial and management points.
Harvego told the council the audit was delivered a little later because it was agreed that he should first go over the report with the city administrator, who started his job July 26, to bring him up-to-date on things.
“That went very well,” Harvego said.
Harvego commented on the city’s general fund, telling the council that at the end of the year, the city had gained about $29,000.
He said it was a positive position.
“There are a lot of cities that have spent down their general fund this last year based on the loss of local government aid, or unanticipated expenditures. You have gained there, and at the end of the year, your fund balance is approximately $654,000,” Harvego said.
The water fund was one of the concerns Harvego mentioned, telling the council there was not a very large cash balance for future projects or for any emergencies.
“Hopefully, you can stabilize that and start building some cash balance from the rate increases you have had in the past year,” Harvego said.
Finishing his review of the audit, Harvego complimented the city.
“I feel the city is doing a really good job in running things, keeping your fund balances up, and doing a good job that way, always. It just has the normal tweaking to do that every city has,” Harvego said.
Odds and ends
In other business, the council:
• approved a gambling permit for Winsted Ducks Unlimited to hold a raffle at the Blue Note, 320 3rd Street South, Tuesday, Sept. 14.
• scheduled a public hearing to consider adopting amendments to the liquor ordinance to change the term “nonintoxicating malt liquor” to “3.2 percent malt liquor.”