4/13/2017 4:39:00 PM Fire department gives council sticker shock with project prelims
Many capital projects in their early design stages see the perceived must-haves get thinned out as reality sets in. Center City Fire Hall improvements are no exception. Council members were quick to inform the fire department spokesperson at the council meeting last week that the project, at a very early estimate of $500,000, is not going to win approval.
Center City offices moved out of space in the city hall/fire hall several months ago and city offices are now located in the old Heartland Express bus garage.
When council agreed to buy the garage from Chisago County, the plan was for the former city admin space at the fire hall to be expanded into. A subcommittee met to start laying out plans and costs.
Fire Dept. spokesperson Jim Marxer told council last week the department wants to be prepared to meet the growing needs of the area and said the department requires a facility that’s up to the task.
Discussion arose when council got to an agenda item to hire an architectural firm for fire hall design expertise. A memo from Lake Superior Consulting-- the city engineering firm-- stated the “structural component of this as proposed will be significant.”
LSC recommended NAI Architects, and council viewed preliminary costs from NAI. Architectural fees were in the $15,000 range. The engineering firm estimated it needs another $20,000 in addition to the project itself.
Council agreed it was time to schedule a meeting with all parties involved in the planning process and review the project. All agreed they were having “sticker shock” on a $500,000 project budget, and noted that Center City only has 700 some residents. Council member Mark Wolcott observed that the firefighters need to keep in mind there’s upcoming equipment needs, stating, “...there’s only X amount we can spend.”
Council consensus was to hold a meeting with the fire department, and advisors to seriously look into the fire hall’s needs.
The meeting is Wednesday, April 12, at 6 p.m. at city hall.
In other business: ~ Fees were set for 2017 and the main change was for false alarm callouts and setting two levels of fire response fee. The fire department has charged $500 for mobilizing and responding. For 2017 there will be two fees, $500 for residential property and $1,000 for commercial if a unit rolls out.
In the event of a false alarm the first time results in a 25 percent charge (of either the residential or commercial sum), second time it’ll be 50 percent and third false alarm is charged at 100 percent.
~ Flushing of hydrants is happening towards the end of this month. Two hydrants are on the priority list to be replaced, but Eric Garner told council he assesses condition during flushing.
Public Works is also coordinating replacement of a culvert between Pioneer Lake into North Center Lake, that goes under Main Street. The culvert is in bad shape and Main Street’s integrity is deteriorating because of it.
Chisago County Soil and Water Conservation District funds will help with the culvert replacement and enhancing it with iron filtration that binds with phosphorus. The apparatus will also have the capability of lowering Pioneer Lake’s water level. If council desires to do so there must be a public hearing and DNR notification. Garner said, “Nobody is after us to lower the lake level at this point.”
The city’s share of project expenses are not known until the work scope is finalized and SWCD contributions are identified. The unit will be installed before next winter
~ The Calendar Isle neighborhood saw some city sewer and water line work and the city needs to restore an 11 by 32 foot portion of the roadway. Quotes will be gathered and council will award soon.
~ A project to repair a swale at Nelson Lane and Pioneer Lake was awarded to Shoreline Landscaping at $13,924 as the lowest of two bids submitted.
~ April 19 will be city residents’ opportunity to challenge the valuation shown on 2017 property tax statements, which should have arrived in your mail. If you think there is a mistake or if you have information that would impact the valuation of you or parcel the Board of Appeal & Equalization meets in city hall at 6 p.m.
~ A Roadside Cleanup, event, starting at the church and going north out of town, is planned for Friday, April 21. If you want to lend a hand show up at the lower church parking lot about 9 a.m.
~ The Freundschuh farm on South Center Lake just east of town, before Pleasant Valley Road, is being developed and council was told that revised plans have been submitted. Engineering will review and council will start to draft a development agreement on utilities, access, etc.