7/11/2013 4:01:00 PM Dissenting commissioner chastized by chair as
by DENISE MARTIN
The bridge on County Highway 36 between Chisago City and Wyoming in the wildlife management area, was added to the county’s bridge replacement priority list earlier this spring, and last week the County Board voted to start the design process. The listing is needed to receive state bridge bonding funding. The vote on proceeding with design using Stantec was 4-1 with Commissioner Mike Robinson opposed.
The bridge on Cty. 36 is rated as “structurally deficient” according to County Engineer Joe Triplett. His department budget was adopted for this year allowing about $37,000 for design work. Commissioner Robinson also balked at a number of other items, that were rolled into the “consent agenda” listing on last week’s meeting schedule. Commissioner Robinson wanted individual debate on a number of what are meant to be non-controversial consent actions. He ultimately voted no on adopting the consent list. He also questioned how public comment was being recorded in Board meeting minutes, and asked for more expansive descriptions by the clerk of the board regarding open microphone public comments. The rest of the county board did not agree and said simply stating open mic was provided and a summary of public comment, is sufficient.
Board Chair Ben Montzka commented that Robinson was ‘throwing bombs” during meetings lately, which Montzka took to be purposely disruptive. Robinson also voted no on a contract for the county’s voting machines and software to be maintained and tested, asking the county auditor if the cost is necessary. At $12,000 annually the contract is the same as it was last year but Robinson said it “seems a little high.” Auditor Dennis Freed said the county has 24 Automarks and 28 M100 machines and “...if they don’t work on election day you’ve got big problems.” The contract calls for all necessary software and hardware maintenance, machine testing and upgrades. Back on the issue of bridges..the consent agenda also covered a contract for inspection of 22 bridge sites by February 2014. The engineering firm WSB provides inspection. Along with the #36 span there are eight other bridges rated as structurally deficient when the last inspection took place (some bridges are checked annually and some every other year.)
~ The County State Aid Hwy. 14 reconstruction project was awarded to the sole bidder, Knife River, for about $724,000. The project area is between #95 and Hemmingway Avenue. The city and school district are also wrapping up work on a trail accomplished as a grant-funded project under the Safe Routes to Schools program in this vicinity.
~ Five counties involved in the Rush Line Task Force are being asked to fund an Alternative Analysis Study. The last study for this transit route was done in 2009 and laid the groundwork for the commuter bus routes now operating. Chair Ben Montzka said the analysis is a “pre-requisite for federal funding” and added that many riders using the Rush Line commuter bus service are Chisago County residents and benefit directly from the expenditure on the study. The Board acted on the funding as the Regional Rail Authority, with Lora Walker opposed. She said she needed more information. Walker was also chosen to serve as chair for the Regional Rail Authority for 2013. Chisago County pays $15,615 towards this Rush Line study. Ramsey County contributes $240,000, Pine about $3,000; Washington has a $19,000 share and Anoka has a $19,779 share.
~ There will be a public hearing scheduled (probably July 17) on a permit for off-sale liquor at a business at 2430 Stark Road, rural Harris. The site is re-opening after a few years of not operating. The business plans to provide on sale and off sale; but state law apparently only requires public hearings when off-sale is being allowed. Applicants are Danielle Wilcox and Mark Radeck as “Local Bar & Lounge LLC.” ~ County commissioners accepted a request to convey a lot inside Creekwood Estates in Stacy-- to the homeowners’ association-- that had gone tax forfeit.