Discussion of improvements at the Rushford Village Public Works maintenance shed continued at the March 7 city council meeting. Public Works and several council members maintain that the building is underutilized and that improvements are needed.
Much like other costs over the last two years, bids for the various parts of the project came in approximately 35% higher than anticipated. Beaver Builders Supply bid $38,000 for all materials, including the overhead door and rebar for the concrete. The overhead door installation, by La Crosse Overhead Door, is $14,000.
R&R Construction bid $22,525 for all concrete work. The six inches of concrete inside the shed will match existing elevations. A 10-foot by 48-foot apron approach to the building will also provide a work area. The cost for septic holding tanks is $6,000. Public Works hopes to assist with removing gravel, digging, installing drain piping, replacing the gravel base, and cleanup work.
Sentenced to Serve (STS) will assist with adding radiant heat to the building and plumbing in the employee restroom. The currently heated half has costly in-floor electric heat. According to Councilor Mike Ebner, the cost recovery time is faster with overhead radiant heat, dries equipment better, and is fixed easily without tearing into concrete floors.
A cost of $6,625 was previously approved to bring water to the shed. “We’re trying to get one package deal and dig up once,” said Ebner. The project will tap the existing well using directional drilling.
NES bid $12,700 for electrical work, including wiring to the east side of the building for a future lean-to project and lighting on the building. Instead of purchasing a water heater, plans include converting the in-floor heat boiler to a gas boiler. The boiler will also heat building water. It also makes the capacity and cost of a standby generator roughly $10,000 less.
Councilor Bob Hart questioned budgeting for building needs. The village doesn’t set aside funds annually for building improvements, but $123,000 is available. The building project might see $5,000-6,000 in savings with Public Works assistance if given final approval.
“When we did the last budget, we were going to stay within the budget. This is the first big thing, and it’s 35% higher,” cautioned City Treasurer Judy Graham.
“Let’s go back to why we’re doing this,” urged Hart.
Ebner cited improvements for vehicle maintenance, a bathroom for employees, a better work environment, storage for Public Works materials, and full utilization of the building. “Is it a little bit of a luxury? It depends on how you look at it,” he added.
“We’ve got to look at what we’ve invested in vehicles and machinery. We can’t just let that sit and rot or rust away,” said Councilor Rick Ruberg.
Looking at city finances with the project, Clerk Mary Miner noted that payments on Cooperative Way end next year. There are still payments for the 2016 South Rushford street improvements, but they will drop significantly soon. The funds could be available if other things don’t come up.
“My crystal ball quit working,” joked Miner. “I can’t tell you.”
The council tabled the item to affirm all bid prices but will decide at the next meeting.
The water meter replacement project hit an unexpected hiccup with the state requiring electrical inspections on grounding for the meters. It is necessary for any public water system in Minnesota. During installation, Public Works will work with local company NES on-call so an electrician can address areas per site. A preconstruction meeting on the water meter changeout is upcoming.
Lastly, the village will be barricading and signing two areas of the road surrounding the Public Works building site from Highway 30 and City Park Road. In addition, the department will move a culvert and add a new drainage ditch dug after a month of the barricades being up. The village noted safety concerns, and future use of the area prompted the move.
The next regularly scheduled is Tuesday, March 21, at 7 p.m. at city hall. The public is encouraged to attend. As a reminder, there is no Planning & Zoning meeting this month.