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By Terry Froseth
Kenmare’s city engineer was given the go ahead Monday to start design engineering for improvements to the downtown park square.
Funding is still in question, but the Kenmare City Council discussed the need to begin the process before it gets too late in the year.
“There’s no doubt they need to be replaced,” alderman Troy Hedberg said of the downtown street lights. “Then we might as well do the sidewalks.”
Mayor Roger Ness replied, “Then we also need to do curb and gutter. Are we going to have funds for all that?”
“It’s already April,” Ness added.
“We need this all in place. We need a plan for the whole thing, whether we go in phases,” Ness said.
“Everyone better start putting your heads together and get going on this,” he said.
Ness was referring to the council committees, such as Ways and Means, and Streets, that will need to come up with plans for funding the work and determining the scope of the work.
Justin Froseth, of Ackerman-Estvold Engineering and Consulting, informed the council there has been no action taken as yet on the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for which the city has submitted an application.
Froseth said application for another grant, Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP), was made in February. Successful applicants will be notified in mid-April.
Each of the grant applications requested the entire $700,000 cost estimated for the downtown improvements, Froseth said.
Ackerman-Estvold’s initial scope of work has recommended replacement of all street lights and lamp posts surrounding the park square and downtown business district, along with new handicap accessible sidewalks, and new curb and gutter. Pavement is not part of the project.
The council will have to consider establishing a special assessment district to fund the improvements if the city fails to secure sufficient grants.
The council opened five bids for its 2011 Bobcat skidsteer loader. The high bid of $33,333.33 from Tim Dignan was accepted.
Other bids opened were: Harvey Steinberger $29,029; Rick Hennix $28,111; James Rice $31,550; Blaine Huff $33,005.
Hall closed to kids
The Memorial Hall has been open to use by city residents, and to kids under adult supervision. Nevertheless, vandalism occurred recently, Ness said, while some kids were playing in the hall, apparently under adult supervision. Damage included ceiling tiles being broken with basketballs.
The council shut down use of the hall by kids and will be reconsidering their policy for public use.
Council member Terese Skjordal said, “We said we would open it until it’s abused. It’s been abused.”
Fund Itt grants approved
Kenmare’s city sales tax screening committee, Fund Itt, met Friday. The committee reported an available uncommitted balance of $259,473.76.
Under old business, Fund Itt reported Lakeview Historical Society will be returning $2000 of the $4300 grant for which they were approved for new signs. The organization received a grant from another entity that will cover $2000 of the cost.
The city council gave its approval to four grants by Fund Itt.
Kenmare Ambulance was approved for $30,000 towards the purchase of a new ambulance, estimated to cost close to $200,000.
Gartner’s Jack and Jill was approved for $1500 business improvement matching grant towards metal siding for the south side of the store. Total project is estimated to be $10,000.
Kenmare Country Club was approve for a $20,000 grant towards remodeling of the kitchen and bathroom of the clubhouse, along with updating of the furnace and bringing the lighting up to code. Some of the work is being done by volunteers and some contractors are providing their work at cost. In addition to the golf course’s use, the clubhouse is used for community functions such as reunions, graduation and wedding parties. Cost is estimated between $35,000 to $40,000, with $14,000 raised so far by Country Club events.
Modern Woodworks was approved for an interest buydown of $35,254 on a $180,000 renewed loan. $13,304 of a previous buydown to Modern Woodworks is unused and will be credited back to Fund Itt’s available uncommitted balance.
The new loan is for a large addition to the Modern Woodworks building and installation of a centralized dust collector. The term of the loan runs to 2017, at 4.5% interest.
The grant buys the interest down to zero. The buydown is paid out over the four-year term of the loan, as the interest accrues. Modern Woodworks has plans to add two employees in 2014, and another in 2015.
The council chambers were cleared of all but the council members with a vote of the council to go into executive session to discuss a personnel matter.
In other action:
• City accountant Jan Kostad presented the financial report. He recommended the city keep more specific records of campgrounds proceeds, as they are currently all lumped together when submitted to the auditor’s office. Mayor Ness said the entire campground is rented out for the summer, with all spaces possibly going to one company.
• The council awarded two donations from the Minot Hockey Boosters gaming fund. A $400 donation was approved to the Kenmare Summer Arts Institute for its May and June program involving about 25 youth. The Kenmare Post Prom Committee was given $200 to be used for prizes.
• City engineer Justin Froseth informed the council remaining work on the new water tower, such as a logo on the west side, and clean up of the site, was scheduled to be finished the week of June 3rd. Electrical power to the tower’s base and a new control panel also remain to be installed.
• Froseth said Hight Construction, the original contractor of the booster station located east of the old landfill, has expressed interest in the project of moving the facility east of town, closer to the NAWS water tower.
• Froseth said grants for energy impacted communities, for both direct and secondary impact, are being considered for water and sewer projects. Mayor Ness suggested the city consider emergency generators for water and sewer plant facilities, as well as the fire hall.
• Payment of a change order amounting to $3491.25 was approved to Wagner Construction to modify the lift station pumps.
• The council approved on first reading amendments to the city ordinances regarding building permit fees, as recommended by city building inspector Don Siebert. Some fees will double with the change, but Siebert said Kenmare is still at the middle to lower end of the fee schedule compared to other towns of similar size. Siebert's recommendations for increasing the excavation fees for water and sewer were also accepted. Siebert said he will continue to review and recommend changes to the ordinances adopted as part of the city’s new ordinance book.
• The city board of equalization meeting will be held May 8 at 7 pm.
• Mayor Ness recommended city residents not feed deer. “We don’t need them in town,” he said.
• Skjordal recommended replacing the tractor at the dump grounds. Council member Todd Ankenbauer said the tractor is working, but has problems. The city will check with the local implement dealerships for the availability of a tractor that will fit the needs, and fit in the roll-off dumpsters, at the landfill. The council approved spending up to $30,000 from the city sales tax infrastructure fund on the replacement tractor.
• The council again discussed moving the meeting time to 7:00 pm on a permanent basis, including through the summer when it is normally 8:00 pm, but no action was taken to make the change.