Council discusses successes, struggles with recent city projects
By Anna Jauhola
While the Hallock dam project comes to a halt for the winter to allow for settling, frustrations are high with two other projects.
The Hallock City Council discussed the dam project, along with the impending mill and overlay of Highways 75 and 175, and the ongoing airport hangar project.
Trent Berg of Houston Engineering appeared via phone at the regular meeting on Monday, Jan. 4. He told the council that all channel work in the river channel has been completed and there will be cleanup completed in the spring.
“We’ve documented where things left off this winter so we can pick up in the spring,” he said.
The main construction of the rock fish passageway, as well as two rock riffles downstream, have been completed, and the bridge abutments and beams are set and curing over the winter months.
The bridge deck will be poured in the spring, Berg said.
“The concrete beams showed up the beginning of the month. They’ve been installed and braced for the winter,” Berg said. “There’s some scaling on them that occurred during the manufacturing process, so that’ll have to be addressed.”
He said the concrete will be painted with a special coating and the scaling will be addressed before that happens.
He noted the rail anchors on the beams shifted when the beams were cast. Houston Engineering is working with subcontractor Red Stone to find a suitable solution.
The project so far has cost just over $1.5 million, with the third installment of $374,787.40 to be paid this month.
“That’s tracking pretty well. Rock can get expensive, concrete is expensive,” Berg said. “The stuff to be done next spring up above (the spillway) is not as expensive. I think we’re on track here.”
MnDOT highway project
This good news at the beginning of the meeting was soon left by the wayside as the council heard via phone from the Minnesota Department of Transpor-tation about additional costs associated with its highway project.
Stephen Frisco is project manager for the mill and overlay project scheduled for Highways 75 and 175 in Hallock, which could be let as early as March 2022, but construction wouldn’t likely begin until 2023.
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Frisco said the city will be responsible for the cost of adjusting 11 sanitary manholes, 20 gate valves and boxes, three gas valve boxes and relocating two fire hydrants. All this will cost $27,950 at current average bid rates. He said the utilities are in the way whether this was an Americans with Disabilities Act issue or a mill and overlay issue.
“As a city we have to pay that $27,950?” asked Councilor Mikey Totleben.
“Yes. Those utilities are in the way. Because they need to be adjusted, the city has to pay for that,” Frisco said.
He offered the city could add those items to the construction for the contractor to complete, and then form a cost agreement with MnDOT.
The council sat in shock hearing this information, agreeing that in previous meetings they’d only heard that the city would be responsible for removing 20 light poles that are in the way of construction. That cost is between $6,500 and $9,000.
“This (project) isn’t something that’s looked upon favorably by 80 percent of the people in the community,” said Mayor Dave Treumer. “And certainly not – from different public meetings and the one (in October) on the corner of 75 and 175 – before the $28,000.”
The council heard also from Airport Manager Jeremy Seng on continuing issues with the new hangar.
“We’ve got a leaky roof,” Seng said. “It’s got a roof system that’s supposed to not leak, which is why the council did it. But they’ve improperly folded over the seam on the roof panels.”
“WHY are we having so many problems with this thing? It’s every time we turn around,” said Councilor Jen Peterson.
Seng said KLJ Engineering signed off on the project and requested payment for the contractor, which the city did. However, when Seng discovered ice balls inside the insulation that became wet from the leaking roof, his frustration increased.
“So they’ve come back and replaced some of that wet insulation and they were pulling out pieces of ice the size of ice cream pails,” Seng said.
The other major issue is the contract called for steel sheeting to be installed on the ceiling inside the hangar. Those sheets of steel arrived, but were never installed and have disappeared from the site, according to both Seng and Treumer.
“I think it’s time to get our attorney involved,” Peterson said. “They need to be held accountable.”
Seng said the contractor had been waiting for a special tool and the time to come back to the site to fix the problem. The one ray of light in all this is the issues are under warranty, so there is no extra cost to the city for the fixes, time or mileage.
“Let’s get George (Hanson) involved. We need a letter to go there yesterday,” said Councilor Kevin Waller. “I’d rather address the issues sooner than later because I don’t want them to walk away from it.”
The council took no action on these issues as the reports were only updates.
In other business, the council:
• Approved the 2021 Hallock Fire Department officers of Chief Kevin Klein, Assistant Chiefs Scott Slusar and Corey Younggren, and Lieutenants Guy Gustafson, Tim Soliah, Seth Preble and Jordan Lofstrom.
• Approved various appointments: Jen Peterson is acting mayor, city representative to the ice arena and parks committee; Mikey Totleben remains on the airport and water, sewer gas committees; Dave Treumer remains on the police committee; Kevin Waller remains on the city hall and streets committees; Police Chief Mike Docken remains the assistant weed inspector, city forester and emergency service director; City Administrator Aimee Sugden is on the flood plain/zoning committee.
• Approved the Kittson County Enterprise as its 2021 official newspaper.
• Approved the city’s annual fee schedule, which remained the same as 2020. This schedule is available to the public at the city office in Hallock City Hall.
• Approved a 3 percent water increase for 2021. This is due to North Kittson Rural Water approving a 3 percent increase for the coming year.