Council: Flood project must be completed by September 2015Published 10:56am Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Faced with waiting several extra weeks for a rebidding process or moving forward with flood mitigation, the Austin City Council unanimously accepted the only bidder for a large-scale project on North Main Street.
The city council accepted Ulland Brothers Inc. as the construction company to lead a $9.2 million project that will erect floodwalls along North Main from Austin Municipal Pool to the former Sinclair Gas Station property and raise the road.
Carter Wagner, owner of The Joseph Company construction business in Austin, urged the city council to reconsider, as there was only one bidder. He pushed the council to open a three-week rebidding session, and further added his company wasn’t able to submit a bid. He thinks the council could have saved the city $500,000 to $1 million by rebidding the project.
While the project is more than the city’s $8.3 million estimate, City Finance Director Tom Dankert said the funding for the project is in place. Furthermore, City Engineer Steven Lang said the DNR will consider kicking an extra $500,000 to $1 million toward the project.
Lang was concerned advertising for more bids and waiting for another council meeting to approve a new bidder could take too long and delay some construction until next spring.
“We could be pushing six to eight weeks’ delay on this project,” he said.
Lang wants work to begin this winter while the water table is low, and mentioned there could be delays with spring runoff and high water.
Jeff Carlson, vice president of Ulland, also talked about the short window to start the project. He mentioned there is a delay getting some of the building materials, which could be pushed further back after a rebid.
Lang said much of the project will be complete in fall 2014. The entire project must be completed by Sept. 22, 2015.
During its work session, Dankert further mentioned the city would be able to pay for portions of the project without any budget strain while waiting for already-approved outside funding. Also during the session, the council recommended Dankert as The Hormel Foundation city representative following John O’Rourke’s retirement.
In other news, the council:
— Welcomed new Austin police officer Chris Garbisch.
— Approved resolutions for snow removal, debris removal, weed removal, sidewalk projects and two sewer projects to be assessed on 2014 property taxes.
— Approved a resolution to adopt liens for unpaid utility charges on behalf of Austin Utilities.
— Approved a grant agreement with the Minnesota Department of Transportation for $252,000 toward $280,000 of snow removal equipment at the Austin Municipal Airport.
— Granted the Planning and Zoning Department the power of contract to remove junk from properties at 608 Eighth St. NE, 404 First St. SE and 406 First St. SE.
— Declared structures at 801 15th St. NE as hazardous properties.
— Approved a resolution to move a home at 508 21st St. SW for the Turtle Creek flood mitigation project.