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Howard Lake City Council approves water treatment contractor
Dec. 7, 2015

By Tara Mathews
Correspondent

HOWARD LAKE, MN – Howard Lake City Council approved a bid from Eagle Construction of Little Falls for maintenance on its water treatment plant at its meeting Tuesday.

At its Dec. 1 meeting, council approved up to $150,000 for the project, and its specifications for necessary maintenance, including replacing filter medias and a new epoxy seal inside the basin.

The city began accepting bids Dec. 15, and received seven bids ranging from $123,300 to $207,000.

Its engineer, Sheila Krohse of Bolton & Menk, estimated the cost of the maintenance to be about $150,000, prior to receiving any bids.

Although the bid of $123,300 from Shank Construction of Brooklyn Park was the lowest, Krohse recommended the second-lowest bid.

“The lowest bidder is considered unresponsive,” Krohse noted. “They did not acknowledge the two-project addenda in their bidding documents.”

The council had the option to take the second-lowest bid that included all required items; or reject all seven bids and start over, according to Krohse.

“Because of the time line we are looking at, I wouldn’t recommend rejecting all bids,” she added.

Eagle construction is able to begin work on the water treatment plant in late January or early February, Krohse said.

Eagle Construction’s bid is $132,911, which is $9,611 more than the lowest bid.

“I am thinking the bid from Shank Construction would be more had they included the two-project addenda,” Krohse stated.

Currently, engineering cost for this project is $9,678, making the total cost of the project $142,589.

“As a side note, residents shouldn’t notice any difference in the quality or taste of their water during the maintenance,” City Administrator Nick Haggenmiller stated.

Various purchases

The council also approved two purchases from its budget. The first is a new staff table for city council meetings, which would look similar to the council’s table.

It will be in two 5-foot sections, that are lightweight and easy to move.

“It will help make the city look more professional, and hide all the cords from the microphones,” Haggenmiller said.

The city staff sought bids for the table and approved a bid from Mark’s Wood Shop of Howard Lake for $1,350.

The second item is a new industrial park sign, which will be lit and include the names of tenants in the park.

“In 2003, the city received a $10,000 grant from the Central Minnesota Initiative Foundation to assist with economic development initiatives,” Haggenmiller noted.

The city has used the grant to engage in some advertising and update marketing materials for the industrial park.

“However, the vast majority of the grant remains intact, because much of the effort was completed by city staff through simple sweat equity,” Haggenmiller stated.

Central Minnesota Initiative Foundation has requested that the city close out the grant, using the remaining grant dollars.

The council approved dedicating the remaining grant balance to the new industrial park sign. City staff sought bids, and found a bid from Herald Journal Printing to be the most cost-efficient, but does not plan to proceed with sign construction until details of the sign have been finalized.

Meeting changes

The city council has decided to change the frequency of its meetings.

“City council meetings have been about 40 minutes, on average,” Haggenmiller noted. “Changing the meetings to once per month would mean the meetings would be longer, but would open up the council and staff’s schedule.”

The city pays other entities, such as the city engineer and attorney, on a per meeting basis, so reducing the number of meetings would be more cost-efficient for the city as well, he added.

Haggenmiller presented the council with three options for the 2016 meeting schedule, including:

• keep meetings as is, the first and third Tuesday of every month;

• schedule one of the Tuesdays as a regular council meeting, and make the other a dedicated workshop day; or

• change meetings to one Tuesday per month and include necessary workshops for that day, unless a specific longer workshop is needed.

The council decided the third option, one Tuesday per month, is the best option for its members and for city staff.

“I’ve been on the council for 20 years, and I’ve missed a lot of my kids’ sporting events because it seems they always fall on a Tuesday,” Council member Tom Kutz noted. “It would be nice to be able to make it to a few events.”

“I’m not opposed to once per month,” Mayor Pete Zimmerman said, “as long as we can add meetings in when necessary.”

It was decided the council meetings will take place the third Tuesday of every month. The council will conduct its Jan. 19 meeting as scheduled, and the new meeting schedule will begin in February.

Odds and ends

In other business, the council:

• approved combining and changing of various boards, committees, and commissions. The street committee and water/sewer committee will now be the Public Works Committee; the police committee and fire board will now be the Public Safety Commission; the community center, library board, and city/school committees will now be the Intergovernmental Committee; the community development committee and code enforcement committee will be combined to be the Community Development Committee; and the liquor store committee will now be called the Liquor Store Commission.

• approved various permits including tobacco, liquor, electronic games, and bowling alleys for various Howard Lake businesses including JAZS Inc., Joe’s Sport Shop, Sinclair, AVP Energy, The Pit Stop, and the American Legion Post 145.

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