By Ivan Raconteur
NEW GERMANY, MN Usually, when a unit of government seeks competitive bids for a product or service, the objective is to select the lowest bid.
The majority of the New Germany City Council chose to go another way Tuesday, voting to keep their current provider despite receiving a significantly lower bid from another contractor.
Three companies submitted bids in response to New Germany’s request for proposals for sanitation service.
Waste Management (the city’s current provider), Elite Waste Disposal of Jordan, and Randy’s Environmental Services of Delano submitted bids.
After minimal discussion, the council voted 3-2 to accept the Waste Management bid, even though it was about 12 percent higher than the Elite bid, according to Mayor Jason Kamerud.
Council members Steve VanLith, Shirley Jaeger, and Jim Paul voted in favor of accepting the Waste Management bid, and Kamerud and Council Member Marc Trujillo voted against it.
The council originally considered the three bids during its July 5 council meeting, but did not vote at that time because it became clear that Kamerud and Trujillo were in favor of the low bid submitted by Elite, and VanLith and Jaeger were in favor of Waste Management. This would have resulted in a tie vote because Paul was not present.
During Tuesday’s meeting, Kamerud asked Paul if he needed any explanations or if he had any questions for the representatives from the three companies, but Paul replied that he had all the information he needed.
VanLith asked the representatives from Elite and Randy’s if they used carts or bins for recycling. He said he had talked to some residents who did not want to have to carry bins to the curb. The representatives from both companies said they used wheeled carts for recycling, the same as Waste Management.
Trujillo said that with the increased costs the city has to charge for water, the lower price offered by Elite for sanitation service would help city residents.
However, the council quickly voted to extend the Waste Management contract, despite the higher price.
Water quality information presented
Paul Moline and Madeline Seveland of the Carver County Water Management Organization presented information about how land use affects water quality.
The representatives also presented information about resources that are available through the organization to help the city update its water management plan, develop water management projects in the city, and help city residents with projects such as rain gardens to improve water quality.
Seveland said changes in land use, including replacing natural landscape with impervious surfaces, has had a significant effect on water quality, and storm water runoff is now the number-one problem affecting water quality in the US.
There are things that cities and individuals can do to help reduce this problem, Seveland said.
The organization can provide planning and technical assistance, and also has cost-sharing programs available.
Odds and ends
In other business, the council:
• heard from city engineer Sheila Krohse that she is still negotiating with the Minnesota Department of Health over the sizing of the proposed water treatment plant.
• heard from VanLith that he has observed young people roaming around town after curfew. Deputy Chris Nelson of the Carver County Sheriff’s Office said if someone observes something like this, they should call it in to the sheriff’s office right away, rather than waiting until a city council meeting to bring it up.
• heard from Krohse that another public hearing will be scheduled regarding the proposed infrastructure improvement project once funds have been obligated for the project. Another hearing is needed because of the amount of time that has elapsed since the last hearing.
• heard an explanation from City Attorney Dave Hubert as to why proposed changes to the city’s liquor ordinance should be kept in two sections, rather than combined as requested by the council. By consensus, the council agreed to review the amendment again, and give city bar owners a chance to comment before approving the changes.
• authorized City Clerk Joan Guthmiller to attend two all-day classes in Hutchinson Thursday, Aug. 4 and Monday, Aug. 8. As a result, the city office will be closed on those days.
• discussed RV parking on city streets. It was noted that city ordinance prohibits any type of vehicle being left on city streets longer than 24 consecutive hours without being moved.
• accepted a $750 Community Partnership Grant check from Belinda Wilson of CenterPoint Energy to be used for a defibrillator for the fire department that will be used to serve the community.