City council struggles over bid for sidewalk along highway

By Jordan Gerard

The Caledonia Argus


The agenda for the July 28 city council meeting looked brief, but the issue concerning the potential sidewalk along Highway 44 prolonged the meeting.

There are several connecting sidewalks on the east side of Highway 44 that allow people to safely walk to various businesses like Kwik Trip and Quillin’s.

The sidewalk ends at the intersection of Esch Drive, which leads to the high school, Dairy Queen and Alco stores. Now the sidewalk will continue along the highway until it reaches North Park.

The decision came after a lengthy conversation about the bid for the project. The lowest submitted bid was T.J.’s Trucking and Excavating, Inc. for $117,779.50, nearly 57 percent over the engineer’s estimate of $74,984.

Mayor Robert Burns commented that the price is “a lot of money for a sidewalk.”

The letter from the Minnesota Department of Transportation said the prices may be higher because the “scope of the project was small” and since it was “later in the construction season, higher prices can be expected.”

The state said they were able to contribute a maximum of $50,000.

Another issue with the path was the lighting. The city council felt that the lights placed on the previous paths were not sufficient and chose to add more lights. The same solution was decided for this path, except the city would install the lights locally.

The same issue arose a few years ago before the sidewalks were put in near Kwik Trip and Quillin’s. The question was if people would use them and the city council members agreed that people do use them and that the new path would get used.

The decision won by a 3-2 vote. Construction dates are unknown at this time.


Other business

The city council approved a change order for Davy Engineering, which hired contractor Griffin Construction Company, Inc. Griffin Construction repaired streets and a large sewer rehabilitation project. The increase was a total of $11,156.61. The bulk of that expense was for the cleanup part of the contract.

The payment due for the city was $36,135, which the council agreed to pay $30,000 of that and retain the $6,135 because a patch on one of the streets has not been completed yet.

A second public hearing was held for 712 Marilouis Court. The owner, Jerry Steele, was not present. The council approved his request for a zoning permit that would let him build up to a 16’ by 30’ building, as long as it stayed within the north and south boundary lines of the property.

A public hearing was set for August 25 for an amendment to Ordinance 153, which does not allow an accessory building such as a detached garage to be larger than the primary residence. The amendment will now allow detached garages in town to be 1,500 square feet total if the parcel is 12,001 square feet or larger.

The city council approved the hiring of Nicole DeWitt, Laura Peter and Patty Goetzinger as EMTs and Nate Pearson and Spencer Privet as two new first responders. They also discussed the possibility of having the opportunity for EMTs and first responders to take a leave of absence, but no action was taken.

The council also heard from Stephanie Mann who presented them with a budget worksheet for 2014. Mann said she felt “pretty good” about the revenue for the city. She reported that expenditures are “in line” and nothing was out of the ordinary.