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Winsted finds solution to heating/cooling problems at city hall
April 20, 2018

By Starrla Cray
Associate Editor

WINSTED – At its work session April 17, Winsted City Council members found out what has been causing problems with the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system at Winsted City Hall.

First, the system is “more complex and larger” than required for a building the size of city hall, City Administrator Dan Tienter said. Second, there were too many repair/maintenance companies working on the system.

The city hall building was constructed in 2008, and began having HVAC problems shortly thereafter. Tienter said city hall will sometimes be 55 to 60 degrees F in the winter. In the summer, the system sometimes pumps out humid air.

“Generally, the failure of the system results in an uncomfortable and unproductive environment for city staff and city hall visitors, costly and time-consuming repairs, and vendor site visits,” Tienter noted in a memo to the city council.

Last year, the city spent about $11,693 on the maintenance and repair of the HVAC system. Since 2015, the average amount spent annually has been $8,615.

In February, city staff met with a senior project manager from Karges-Faulconbridge (a facility design and engineering firm) to find possible solutions for the persistent HVAC problems. The project manager recommended two things:

• Use only one vendor for repair and maintenance. (The city had been using three vendors – Johnson Controls International, St. Cloud Refrigeration, and Northern Air Corporation.)

• Install a web-based control system to better monitor the system’s activity both on-site and remotely.

At the city council’s Tuesday, May 1 meeting, the council plans to approve a quote for $6,712 from Northern Air Corporation for the controls upgrade, as well as a customer support agreement for an amount not to exceed $12,000 annually.

The plan is to terminate the agreements with the other HVAC system vendors. (The agreement with Johnson Controls was terminated at Tuesday’s meeting, effective May 31, in order to give the required notice time.)

Bid awarded for Industrial Blvd.

The council awarded a project bid for an amount not to exceed $123,121 to Wm. Mueller and Sons to complete Industrial Boulevard improvements, and authorized the city administrator to approve any change orders, which cannot cumulatively exceed 5 percent of the initial cost.

City engineer Jake Saulsbury from Bolton & Menk said the quality of blacktop will be higher than what is there now.

Odds and ends

In other business, the council:

• adopted a resolution terminating the purchase agreement between the City of Winsted and America’s Best Cargo. The purchase was initially planned to close July 1, 2017, and America’s Best Cargo requested that the closing date be extended on two separate occasions. The first amended closing date was Aug. 18, 2017. The city agreed to extend the closing date again, to Dec 8, 2017, but the emailed extension agreement was never signed by America’s Best Cargo. As per the agreement, the city will retain non-refundable earnest money of $2,500.

• authorized city engineering firm Bolton & Menk to conduct a soil boring and log in conjunction with the Northgate Lift Station improvements, for an amount not to exceed $1,680.

• approved a dance permit for the Blue Note Ballroom for a Winstock Rumble event Saturday, April 28.

• accepted the resignation of Allison Moses as a member of the planning commission, effective April 17.

• appointed Glenn Weibel to the airport commission, with a term expiring Dec. 31.

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