Baxter City Council approves cost bump for Paul Bunyan trail adjustment

Baxter City Hall will also be closed to the public until Nov. 25 as a precautionary measure after a city staffer came into contact with an individual diagnosed with COVID-19.

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Council member Mark Cross speaks during a virutal meeting of the Baxter City Council on Tuesday, Nov. 17. Screen grab

Tuesday’s meeting, Nov. 17, was a brisk, orderly affair for the Baxter City Council.

After a city staffer was confirmed to have come into contact with a COVID-19 infected individual, the city of Baxter took the precautionary measure to close Baxter City Hall for in-person services until the tentative reopening date of Monday, Nov. 30, but business continued as usual for the city’s governing body with another virtual meeting conducted over Zoom.

During closing comments, Mayor Darrel Olson touched upon the weighty events of the world as COVID-19 rates spike across the country and much of the Midwest with the holiday season looming on the calendar.

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“I hope I can repeat it correctly, but the comment was made that if you're planning a large gathering — such as Thanksgiving — and it's not well thought out, you may be planning a large funeral by Christmas,” Olson said. “You know, that may be kind of severe, but at the same time I think we need to be smart, we need to be careful.”

Council member Connie Lyscio noted that unstable internet connections over virtual meetings can serve as a microcosm of upheaval during 2020, but appreciated Baxter’s calm, steady leadership.


“Across my screen it keeps on saying my internet connection is unstable and I guess 2020 in a nutshell has been unstable,” Lyscio said. “However, looking to Thanksgiving week coming up, one thing that is so stable, in my humble opinion, is the leadership of Baxter and especially you, Mayor Olson. I'm so grateful for the role that you play.”


Members voted to approve a $23,000 allocation for a 3,400 foot section of South Interceptor and North Forestview improvement project involving a corridor from Maryland Road to Land O’ Lakes Road where the city plans to move the Paul Bunyan State Trail off Highway 371 at a later time.

The $23,000 price bump came to light after city staff requested the contractor, R.L. Larson Excavating, to construct a complete and paved trail section over the section utilized as a temporary detour. The cost submitted by R.L. Larson for constructing a paved trail was $116,000, which is beyond the previously budgeted funds for the project.

The Baxter City Council is scheduled to convene for two special meetings the next upcoming Monday, Nov. 23, with regards to bond sales, and Monday, Nov. 30, with regards to truth and taxation.

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In other business, the council:

Approved a change order revising the completion date from Oct. 30, 2020, to May 28, 2021, for the Lift Station No. 11 reconstruction project, as well as a partial pay estimate in the amount of $36,888.28 for that project.

Approved moving the electrical service for 13157 Memorywood Drive across the road to Fairview Drive for the estimated cost of $5,400 in the 2019 Memorywood Drive improvements project.


Approved a change order with Knife River Corporation – North Central in the increased amount of $19,167.46 and a final pay estimate in the amount of $87,474.18 for the 2019 Full Depth Reclamation improvements and 2019 Memorywood Drive improvements project.

Approved the final payment application in the amount of $12,866 to Pike Plumbing and Heating of Brainerd Inc. for the water treatment plant exhaust extension project.

Approved a fee amendment to Bolton & Menk in the amount of $192,219, a change order in the increased amount of $36,193.21 to R. L. Larson Excavating Inc., and a partial pay estimate in the amount of $1,209,750.89 — all for the 2020 South Sanitary Sewer Interceptor, North Forestview Improvements and North Forestview stormwater outfall improvements project.

Approved a change order in the amount of $16,781.65 and a partial pay estimate in the amount of $674,212.29 to Anderson Brothers Construction Co. for the 2020 Fairview Road, Golf Course Drive, Excelsior Road and trail Connection and 2020 Oakwood Drive trail connection improvements project.

Approved a development agreement and maintenance agreement with Simonson Lumber Company LLC, described as a standard development agreement to add a fire hydrant and extend the water main, as well as establish maintenance responsibilities for the owner.

Approved an engagement letter with BerganKDV for the city of Baxter’s 2020 audit.

Acknowledged that there is no change in employee dental insurance premiums for the January 2021 renewal with Delta Dental.

Elected not to waive the monetary limits on municipal tort liability established by state statutes for insurance renewal in 2021 with the League of Minnesota Cities.


Authorized engineering-architectural firm Widseth to complete as-built designs per the development agreement with Camping World Property Inc. in the amount of $4,000. As-built designs are blueprints of any portions of construction that had to be added on or modified during construction, after the initial planning process. These exact representations of the final structure then can be referenced at a later time. In the case of Camping Word Property Inc., the project itself was completed, but the contractor, Vercon, went out of business before these as-built designs could be submitted. The council authorized Widseth to finish these outstanding items and thereby complete the project as stipulated in the original development agreement.

Certified assessments for unpaid delinquent utility bills, invoices, and abatement charges to the tax rolls and hosted a public hearing.

Hosted a public hearing to discuss vacating drainage and utility easements at 14236 and 14232 Grand Oaks Drive.

GABRIEL LAGARDE may be reached at or 218-855-5859. Follow at
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