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Tri-City Paving wins bid for Cass paving projects

WALKER — Tri-City Paving offered the lowest of four bids Cass County received March 1 for five road construction projects in the county to be done this summer.

Tuesday, the county board awarded the contract to Tri-City.

The company’s combined $3,100,829.42 bid covers $573,654.77 for a County Road 109 project, $1,296,344.07 to rebuild and repave County State Aid Highway (CSAH) 1 from CSAH 15 to County Road 107, $695,794.34 to improve CSAH 34, $42,912.45 to repave the main street in the city of Backus and $492,123.42 to improve and replace a bridge on CSAH 17.

Bids ranged up to $3,267,494.42 for the total package.

CSAH 1, which is a main north-south artery in the county, carries about 1,000 vehicles per day at the north end near Pine River and at the south end near Pillager and about 600 to 700 vehicles in the middle section, according to County Engineer David Enblom.

Laura Hadrava, construction and design engineer with the county highway department, outlined for the board the phased rebuilding that the department has undertaken as money is available to improve CSAH 1.

Her report shows a section between CSAH 17 and Mayo Creek is scheduled for 2014 and a section between County Road 107 and CSAH 29 is scheduled for 2016, but no funding has been found in the county’s five-year plan at this time for the last section, which lies between CSAH 29 and CSAH 17.

Additionally, the first section running north from Pillager to CSAH 34 was rebuilt and repaved in 1997, meaning it could be in line for resurfacing by the time the final phase can be funded.

Enblom told the board the cost to rebuild and repave a road today runs about $450,000, which is about the total amount the county receives annually in state aid funding.

In other highway business Tuesday, the board voted to revoke state aid designation for CSAH 37 north of Walker, a one mile section of road, and to re-designate as state a mile of the cut-across section of road past the former Ah-Gwah-Ching property between Highways 371 and 34.

Making that change will enable Cass to receive about $250,000 one-time state aid funding from Minnesota Department of Transportation for the county to take ownership of what has been a state road that once served Ah-Gwah-Ching.

Enblom said the county has no current plans to upgrade that cut-across road at this time, but will be able to use the money on any state aid road.

Chief Financial Officer Larry Wolfe reported the county has a total funding obligation for retiree benefits of $32,800,116, with an estimate annual obligation of $1,232,431. The annual funding is in each year’s budget.

County Administrator Robert Yochum noted the county reduced retiree insurance benefits for newly hired employees beginning in 1991 and eliminated them for people hired as of 2008. The remaining county obligation is for people hired before those dates.

The board held a public hearing on the county’s capital improvement plan. No one appeared to comment.

The commissioners voted to table action on the plan until the April 3 regular meeting at the courthouse in Walker to study the plan further before taking action on it.

County Recorder Katie Norby obtained board approval to replace for up to $50,000 a color plat scanner, a printer and a color plotter. The existing equipment in her office was purchased between 2003 and 2006. Repair parts are no longer available for the existing equipment, she said.

The recorder’s technology fund will pay for the purchase.

The board appointed, based on a recommendation from the city of Chickamaw Beach, Robert Hobson to represent that city on the Pine River Area Sanitary District Board.