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home : news : news August 23, 2017

6/15/2017 4:33:00 PM
Council unanimous on moving fire hall project to design phase

The Center City Council, with member Donna Higgins absent, heard that the Center City Fire Dept. Fire Relief Association IS on-board with making payments, to retire future debt, on a proposed fire hall expansion and improvements project.  

A meeting with city officials and the fire department relief association directors took place May 17,  to clarify uncertainty expressed at the May council meeting over obligations.   It was reported last week that everybody came away in agreement on the reliability of charitable gambling proceeds to cover fire hall project costs.

Council member Mark Wolcott said the association understands the need for the city to get financial help using at least several years’ worth of charitable gambling revenue payments.

With this reassurance council voted 4-0 to direct an architectural firm to draw plans and prepare specifications.  The concept is for an addition off the Hwy. 8 side of the existing fire hall and to renovate older portions into office spaces, new restrooms,  training room, etc and a small area to display an antique rig the department has.  The design phase should be around $12,000 council was advised.

According to public financial reports provided by the MN Gambling Control Board-- Center City Fire Relief ended 2016 with about $134,000 in its charitable gambling (bingo and pull tabs) bank account, after prizes and expenses are paid.  

The gross was $943,000 with prize payout of $808,000.

Center City hall used to share a portion of the fire hall structure, and when the city relocated offices to the former county transit garage (next to Bayview Apartments complex) this jump-started talks of improving and adding on to the fire hall.

In other business;  the city and Chisago Lake Lutheran Church are planning to resurface the church lot at the same time the adjacent city streets, are overlaid...but Schmahl Ave. will have to wait.  
Council was advised by the Public Works Supervisor Eric Garner, that the plan was to quote all the asphalt necessary to overlay streets and church parking lot.  The price would be improved going in bulk.  
Schmahl Ave., however, is a gravel surfaced two-house street.  
Council member Wolcott reminded the city council that policy is to assess whenever a street is “improved” ie: blacktopped for the first time. General maintenance and upkeep costs--such as an overlay or seal coat-- are paid for by the city as a whole.

City Clerk Terrie Trudeau added that the city has to treat all properties the same.   If council allows the city to pay to bring Schmahl Ave. up to bituminous surface, then in the future all residents will expect to not be assessed if their street surfaces are upgraded.

Council deleted the Schmahl Ave. right-of-way from the quotes and approved doing overlay projects just on deteriorating city pavement alongside the church.

The square footage for seeking quotes needs to be recalculated, and staff will bring back the new quotes.

~ The Main Street culvert replacement, between Pioneer and North Center Lakes,  was planned as a summer project,  but it is still pending review by the Dept of Natural Resources.  Easement across two affected properties is also being finalized.  

The bids may be ready to go to council next month.

 ~ Brian McChesney got a waiver to not pay the sign fee to place signage for a kids’ fishing contest July 29 during Center City Days.  The bait and convenience store is sponsoring this event for the first time.

Council also voted 4-0 to allow Burns Ave. (by the fire hall) to be closed to traffic for the street dance.

~ The July 4 council meeting was re-set for Wednesday, July 5.

The city EDA networking breakfast meeting stays at 7 a.m. August 1-- but the August city council meeting was moved to 8 a.m. immediately after the breakfast.

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AnnMarie Brink - US Bank

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