Brainerd City Council: Utility project facing hurdles to completion
Issues have hampered the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport utility extension project since the project was deemed substantially complete last fall. Monday night, City Engineer Jeff Hulsether updated the Brainerd City Council on the project's status...
Issues have hampered the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport utility extension project since the project was deemed substantially complete last fall.
Monday night, City Engineer Jeff Hulsether updated the Brainerd City Council on the project's status. When completed, the project will bring Brainerd Public Utilities water and sewer service to the airport. Tom's Backhoe Service this past summer completed the city of Brainerd's portion of the project, while Ryan Contracting completed the airport's portion.
The project management team is aware the system has been experiencing leaks, which have been repaired, Hulsether said. About a month ago, Tom's Backhoe Service agreed to pressure test the water system again, he said, which hasn't happened yet. The system passed pressure and bacteria tests last fall. BPU has been pressure testing some portions of the line and finding some portions of the line aren't holding pressure, he said, which is strange.
"This is really unusual that all of a sudden it's losing pressure," Hulsether said. "But the contractor is investigating that."
The team is putting together a letter to send to the contractor asking for a schedule for final completion on the project, Hulsether said. The letter will notify the contractor that even though the project was deemed substantially complete last fall, because of the leaks and pressure issues, the team now considers the project to not be substantially complete.
Last year, Tom's Backhoe Service requested time extensions in order to meet substantial and final project completion, Hulsether said, due to weather conditions. The team agreed to those extensions, he said, but now, the team is documenting the extensions the contractor needs to meet substantial project completion. If the contractor fails to meet deadlines, he said, the team will begin tabulating liquidated damages. Additional consulting costs for oversight and testing would be covered by liquidated damages, he said.
"Quite honestly, we're spending money to have a consultant out there to oversee things that we're just not making any progress on," Hulsether said.
Once the project reaches final completion, the contractor is obligated to provide a two-year warranty on the water main piping system, Hulsether said.
"I'm sure if we make it through the two years, I'm sure we'll have no problems," Hulsether said.
The city is retaining about $240,000, which is about 3 percent of the contract amount, Hulsether said. The retained amount of the total contract will serve as leverage to get the contractor to complete the project, he said.
In other business, the council:
Appointed Paul Sandy as city engineer, effective June 10. Sandy, current assistant city engineer, will fill the vacancy created by Hulsether's retirement.
Sandy will go through a six-month probationary period as set forth in city policy. He will start at step A of the city's salary administration plan, which is 85 percent of the top wage for the position. His starting wage will be $84,920 per year.
After the council accepted Hulsether's resignation, it authorized the internal posting of the vacancy. Sandy was the only internal applicant for the position. Council President Dave Pritschet, who was part of the committee that interviewed Sandy, said Sandy is familiar with city facilities and projects.
"We've got somebody that we're hoping will be a long-term employee," Pritschet said. "I think he's served the city well so far."
Adopted a resolution accepting the low bid for the Oak Street mill and overlay, Jackson Street resurfacing and Buffalo Hills Lane resurfacing projects, which are planned for this year. The low bidder, Tri-City Paving, submitted a bid totaling $1,039,128 for all three projects. The breakdown for each project is as follows:
• Oak Street project: $495,571,
• Jackson Street project: $270,736,
• Buffalo Hills Lane project: $272,820.
The only other bidder, Anderson Brothers Construction, submitted a bid totaling $1,219,428 for all three projects. The breakdown for each project is as follows:
• Oak Street project: $595,536,
• Jackson Street project: $293,612,
• Buffalo Hills Lane project: $330,278.
The engineer's estimate for all three projects totaled $1,212,236.
Accepted a quote for materials testing submitted by Braun Intertec in the amount of $50,490. The testing is for the Oak Street mill and overlay, Jackson Street resurfacing and Buffalo Hills Lane resurfacing projects, which are planned for this year.
Approved a final contractor payment to Crow Wing County for the joint Southeast 13th Street project in the amount of $621,619. The council had previously approved a cost of $602,931 for the project, which took place last year. The $18,688 overage is mainly due to an overrun of curb and gutter removal and replacement. There was also additional cost to the city for the construction of a weight distribution slab at an alley sewer crossing.
Authorized a conditional job offer to Travis Gleason, the next available candidate on the police officer eligibility list. The top candidate did not pass the pre-employment screening requirements. The job offer is contingent upon pre-employment drug screening and background checks. The department still has two unfilled police officer positions.
Authorized a conditional job offer to Audrey Webb, the top candidate for an open administrative specialist position as recommended by city staff. The job offer is contingent upon pre-employment drug screening and background checks. Webb will start at step A of the city's salary administration plan, which is 85 percent of the top wage for the position. Her starting wage will be $20.21 per hour.
The previous administrative specialist, Nikki Tabaka, resigned effective Feb. 10. Following her resignation, 44 people applied for the opening, with eight of those applicants interviewed for the position.
Received an update on a plan to update the audio system in the council chambers. City staff will develop a request for quotes to submit to local vendors which will entail upgrading the microphones, speakers, or both, in the council chambers. The request will also include a quote on upgrading the audio recording system to replace the current cassette-based system. The total cost for these upgrades is estimated at $7,000 or less.
Accepted with regret the resignation of Tim Holtz, street department maintenance employee. Holtz has been hired by Brainerd Public Utilities as a wastewater operator. His last day with the street department is April 14.
Held the first reading of ordinance 1464, which amends sections of the city code to allow beekeeping in certain residential areas in the city. The ordinance amends city code section 900 to include regulations for beekeeping. It also amends city code section 1010 to include an annual $40 beekeeping permit fee.
Currently, under city code section 900, bees are listed as farm animals and only allowed in zoning districts where farm animals are allowed. The planning commission has unanimously recommended amending city code section 900 to allow beekeeping.
Held the first reading of ordinance 1465, which amends the city's zoning ordinance to permit short-term rental units in R-1, R-1A and R-2 residential districts by interim use. The change is recommended by the planning commission.
There will be an interim use permit application fee for short-term rentals, as well as a requirement all short-term rentals be inspected annually.
Approved a new contractor license for Palmer West Construction Company in Rogers.
Received a written report from Fire Chief Tim Holmes on the fire department's activity for the month of March. The department received 35 calls for service during the month, with eight of those calls canceled enroute. Of those 35 calls, 20 were within the city of Brainerd.
Adopted a resolution authorizing the Brainerd Eagles Aerie 287 to conduct off-site gambling April 22-23 at Memorial Park, 1700 Mill Avenue.
Approved a temporary on-sale liquor license application submitted by the Elks Lodge governing body for an event May 3 at the Brainerd National Guard Armory, 1115 Wright St.
Approved the off-sale liquor license transfer from Paul Koering, Baxter Liquor Mart to Ryan Barrett, Barrett's Northeast Liquor, doing business as Northeast Liquor. The business is located at 105 Washington Street Northeast. The tobacco license at the location is also transferred to Barrett.