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City Council hires subcontractors for public works project

Buildings are being moved from the future site of the city's public work facilitiy.
Buildings are being moved from the future site of the city's public work facilitiy.

The Grand Marais City Council meeting met April 26th. The meeting began with a public hearing in which citizens could comment on the bonds being issued to finance the city’s public works facility.

No citizens attended the public hearing and the city unanimously approved a financing package of $2 million in capital improvement program bonds and $1.5 million in utility revenue bonds.

The remainder of the project will be paid for through cash reserves.
The next matter of business for the council was the acceptance of bids for various parts of the public works facility. Eric Johnson of McGough (MaGoff), the company acting as construction manager for the project, participated in the meeting by phone.
Based on Johnson’s recommendation, the council approved the contractors for the following work:

Earthwork -- Veit of Duluth

Cast-in-place concrete -- Northland Concrete of Burnsville, MN

Masonry -- Bedrock Flint of Duluth

Roofing -- Range Cornice & Roofing of Hibbing

Aluminum storefront windows -- St. Germaine’s of Duluth

Mechanical -- Jamar of Duluth

Electrical -- Holden Electric of Baxter, MN                  
Johnson said either he or his colleagues had worked with all of the companies selected and had found them all to be “strong performers.”
Johnson also said all of bids came in on, or under budget, except for electrical. The lowest bid, from Holden Electric was for $181,000 --- $36,000 over budget.
Councilor David Mills noted that the other two bidders—Nordic Electric and Hunt Electric—were local companies. Mills said no matter how much he wanted to support local contractors, because of the large price difference, he couldn’t justify not going with the lowest bid.


In a follow up to their February visit to the Grand Marais City Council, the Nordic Nature Group shared a job description for a Green Steps coordinator to implement some of the initiatives of that program.

Mayor Arrowsmith DeCoux said the information from the Nordic Nature Group included a budget with funding of $5,000 for the coordinator position. Arrowsmith DeCoux said the rationale is that if a person is paid it will bring direction to the efforts to fulfill the Green Steps mission.

The council agreed to discuss the idea and potential funding at a future council meeting.
Although the council approved a rehab project for the public bathrooms in the City Hall building at their last meeting, it was also agreed that a permanent solution needed to be found to meet the public need for restrooms in the downtown area.

One solution brought forward was to offer some sort of incentive to business owners to open the restrooms in their establishments for public use.

Councilor David Mills asked if the Grand Marais Public Utilities Commission could give a reduction on water and sewer bills if they did so.

At the Wednesday council meeting, the conversation turned to bathrooms once again. Mayor Arrowsmith DeCoux volunteered to take an inventory of bathrooms in downtown businesses.

The council agreed to hold a meeting specifically to address the situation, to attempt to identify the problem. City Administrator Mike Roth said the meeting would be time to do some “scoping.” He will gather information on how public restrooms are offered in other places and will bring forward location ideas. Arrowsmith DeCoux will conduct the business inventory.