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August 14, 2018

10/27/2017 11:08:00 AM
County takes step to remove fuel tanks, preparing Stacy site to sell

The abandoned gas station and car-wash at the northeast corner of Stacy Trail and the freeway;  has long been a sore spot with Stacy city officials.  The property went tax forfeit in 2014 after years of sitting un-used.  But, hopefully, by the time the next sales cycle of county-managed tax forfeit parcels rolls around--the County Board was recently told that the site should be on the list of available properties.

Commissioners heard the minimum sale price has to be at least $20,417, which would only recoup the cost of addressing the four underground gas storage tanks that must be removed and/or replaced. The contract for removal was awarded by the County Board on a 5-0 vote to Carlson McCain, including filling the holes and associated expenses. (Commissioner Lora Walker participated in last week’s meeting via electronic feed.)  

The firm is also collecting soil samples for the state Dept. of Health to test for volatile organic compounds, and determine if any fuel has migrated into soil.  The bid memo from Carlson McCain said it’s believed the tanks were pumped dry before closing.  If leaking is detected, the Minnesota Dept.  of Commerce  Petro Fund is available to reimburse future costs related to contamination.

Last minute added costs
The under-construction Law Enforcement Center budget was revised a bit, on a 5-0 vote as surprise costs surfaced.

The county board learned that the notoriously “hard” water in Center City won’t suffice for the new  systems and water softening capabilities must be incorporated. The quote for water softeners and related plumbing is $60,000, which was approved as a change order with existing contractor Weidner Plumbing and Heating.

The county also won a special one-time appropriation from the state of $3 million to supplement local project financing; but the funding has a string attached. The Law Enforcement Center energy efficiencies must be compliant with “B3” standards. The county will pay designers Klein McCarthy a maximum of $25,000 to create documentation and perform  required modeling of the Law Enforcement Center’s energy efficiencies in order to use the $3 million grant.

The county has avoided some $100,000 estimated for water and sewer access charges and permit costs-- so all-in-all these added expenses do not increase the bottom line, the commissioners were advised.

The LEC project is entirely enclosed. LEC administrative team members are negotiating with vendors now for inmate services. Lights are being installed and staff are walking through operations, drafting hardcopy manuals etc. Commissioners might take an official tour in November, staff said,  although individual commissioners have already taken a look.  Opening of the new facility is slated for February 2018.

In other business: the sheriff patrol contract with City of Harris was approved by the Board for 20 hours a month at $57.85 per hour.

~ County Engineer Joe Triplett said the MNDOT bituminous surface assessment done every four years of County State Aid Highways (CSAH) was showing over 75 percent of the system in “good condition” and one-quarter mile was rated “poor.”   When the state did this in 2013 there were 48 miles in “poor” condition.

Commissioner Mike Robinson commented on the half-percent sales tax and wheelage tax and they “really helped” as roads are showing improvement. “We did the right thing, although it was a kinda tough vote,” Robinson concluded.

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