Courthouse elevator to be repaired

By Anna Jauhola
Two issues with the Kittson County Courthouse elevator prompted board action at the county commission meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 4.
Hydraulic seals on the facility’s nearly 40-year-old elevator is wearing out, which has caused it to leak hydraulic fluid into the pit below. This issue led to the suggestion to install a fluid-return system, said Eric Christensen, county administrator.
“If you ride the elevator, you can smell the hydraulic fluid,” he said. “It kind of permeates the cab.”
Currently, as the system pumps hydraulic fluid, any overflow is pumped through a hose fed into a 5-gallon bucket at the bottom of the elevator pit. The hose goes through a hole in the bucket at the 4-gallon mark, Christensen said.
“If we don’t go down and periodically remove this bucket and haul it all the way back upstairs to refill into the container, it will eventually start to just overflow out of the bucket,” Christensen said. “It’s a mess.”
Each time Custodian Victor Camacho and Christensen handle this, it leaves a mess on the stairs and takes several hours.
“Larson (Elevator, Grand Rapids, Minn.,) said they could install a return system,” Christensen said.
Although the county has a contract with Otis Elevator Company to inspect the elevator, he said he found a better quote from Larson Elevator. A return system will not only eliminate the need for the bucket catch drain but also eliminate puddles of hydraulic fluid in the elevator pit and on the stairs when it’s changed.
When Otis inspected the elevator in January, Christensen said they found no reason for the seal’s failure, such as scratches or knicks.
The commission approved hiring Larson Elevator to replace the hydraulic seals and install an oil return pump in the elevator pit. The seals will cost $4,020 and the return pump will cost $1,664. Commissioner Darrel Johnson was absent.
In other business, the commissioners:
• Heard from County Engineer Kelly Bengtson on his concerns for moderate to major flooding this spring. The current forecasting calls for a higher flood on the Red River than last spring, with a 75 percent chance of the river at Drayton hitting 42.5 feet – major flood stage begins at 42 feet.
• Approved the highway department to purchase a Ford XL work truck from C&M Ford for $32,384, which was within the $35,000 budget.
• After discussion regarding purchasing a skid steer loader for the highway department, the commission chose to rebid the machine. A Bobcat representative brought a proposal for a different machine to the meeting than the bid he gave the county two weeks ago. Because the machine specs were different, the county must rebid to give the other businesses a chance to bid similar machines.
• Approved Bengtson to advertise for bids for a box culvert replacement project on St. Vincent Township Road T-110 in Section 1.
• Approved resolutions authorizing the UOCAVA and absentee ballot boards.
• Approved the UCare contract amendment for care coordination and management services.
• Approved the sanitary landfill license for Markit Landfill.
• Approved the recycling and processing facility license for Markit Landfill.
• Approved the solid waste license for Anderson Sanitation.
• Approved appointments of Marshall Hemmes and Shane Stewart to the Joe River Watershed Board.

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