Flood projects to continue during shutdown

Published 11:51 am Friday, July 1, 2011

The city’s flood mitigation projects will continue in lieu of the government shutdown, Austin City Council decided Thursday evening.

Council members voted unanimously at a special meeting to continue construction despite the possibility that funding for the projects will be affected.

City Engineer Jon Erichson said 50 percent of the flood mitigation project is funded by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. He explained the risks of continuing with the project in an e-mail to City Administrator Jim Hurm.

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“… If we decide to continue work there is a chance that such action may preclude the DNR from reimbursing us for the eligible costs during a shutdown,” Erichson wrote in the e-mail.

However, halting work on the project held the risk of the contractor filing claims against the city for expenses associated with equipment not working or schedules being impacted.

“Flood mitigation is probably the most important project the city of Austin has had in quite some time,” council member Steve King said. “I’m willing to recognize that risk and keep moving forward with (the project).”

Erichson told the council he thinks it’s unlikely that the DNR would be unable to reimburse the city, although it is still a risk.

Council member Roger Boughton motioned to continue working on the projects and review the progress in four to six weeks. City Council members voted in favor of his motion.