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June 26, 2019

5/23/2019 3:46:00 PM
County Board awards bid for County Road 39 to Knife River

Chisago County’s engineer Joe Triplett, brought the commissioners up-to-speed on some projects at the Board meeting May 15.  

The County Road 39 reconstruction bridge-culvert delivery is delayed, but the bid was awarded to Knife River for $5.7 million.  Work should start in earnest June 3, Triplett reports.  Two bids for #39 were over what was estimated;  which seems to be the norm for infrastructure projects everywhere this summer, especially with grading contractors reportedly in short supply likely due to commitments to metro light rail corridor work.

The #39 project, in Rush City,  is paid for with state aid funds.

Triplett also said the county snow removal policy is very dated and needs a fresh look.  Older equipment, unworkable schedules for longer and more intense snowfall events,  and other factors need review.  “Things have changed” said Triplett, in the 20 years since the county snow removal guidelines were adopted.
There’s a groundbreaking May 28 for the project extending Hemingway Avenue, in North Branch.  The county, a developer, MNDOT and city are coopertaing on this and on a new round-a-bout being constructed as phase two,  at the new intersection of Hemingway and Hwy 95.

A plan of attack to improve parking lots at Fish Lake and Ki Chi Saga County Parks is being formulated.  Triplett said county public works can do the trucking out of the county gravel pit, but would look to recoup for gravel costs from parks to Road & Bridge accounts.

The repairs the county did to a failing culvert and access road to seven properties on the southeast edge of North Branch will be paid for by the property owners.  Commissioners voted to assess the lots on the street as a “private road” and not have ditch #7 properties-- that flows through the culvert-- pay the bill.

The repairs were made in October 2018 as an “emergency” fix so the road into the neighborhood on Pine Street didn’t totally collapse.

After researching the culvert and  driveway development histroy the county determined the driveway, culvert installation was owned as private property.  
Two bills, one for $5,400 (culvert) and one for $6,000 (rebuild road) were rejected by the county and Pine Street homeowners will cover the bills.  
The vote was 3-2 with Chris DuBose and Mike Robinson opposed.  

Commissioner Robinson said he consulted with county auditor Dennis Freed, who administers all the ditch financials. Robinson believes an honest mistake was made, when the repairs were ordered,  thinking it was all related to a public ditch expense.  Robinson said the county should just leave things and cover the culvert cost,  transferring the money from the Ditch Fund to the County highway department.  

DuBose commented that he wasn’t on the Board in 2018 when the ditch crossing emergency was first addressed, but he would support culvert-related expenses being covered by the ditch fund.

George McMahon argued that private benefits need to be paid for by the property owners and not by all the other 189 parcels on Ditch #7.

During public comment-- two property owners argued for the county to still foot the bill for the $5,400 for culvert work at a minimum.

To assess the whole bill the county’s next step is a “ditch obstrution hearing” to make a record of evidence and give the property owners a chance to argue their side.

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