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Public works project delayed

FAIRMONT — The Fairmont City Council meeting saw approvals of new motions and a motion failed at Monday night’s meeting. The motion that failed came in the form of the new Public Works facility not being able to award the project to the low bidders in the agenda action.

For six years, the council and Troy Nemmers, Director of Public Works and City Engineer, have discussed the Public Works Facility project. Bids opened for the new Public Works Facility at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 4. Over 130 bids were received on 30 different work scopes. Kraus-Anderson reviewed the bids and provided the recommendation to the council. The recommended award total for all bids was $7.5 million.

“I’ve been struggling with the decision on this building, because I do believe city staff needs a safe place to work, but I also think there are many other things we need to consider,” Council member Michele Miller said. “We have roads and infrastructure too that we also need to take into account.”

The city council discussed the tax levy of the project and that the cost of the project has increased. Council member Randy Lubenow discussed that he has had a problem with the way the project was presented and that this project is too big due to the money coming out of taxpayers’ pockets.

The council vote came to a 2-3 failed motion. This delayed the awarding of the bids and if the project is to continue, the timing of the project being finished due to preliminary work from three contractors for the project.

The city council moved on to discuss placing lifeguards at Gomsrud Park. Council member Britney Kawecki requested to have this discussion in part due to seeing families go into the swimming area and that the beach could become more successful like it was in the past.

“The reason I brought it up is because I don’t know how we can be the city of lakes and we don’t have lifeguards at our beaches or a beach,” Kawecki said.

The process would have to align with the training of Fairmont Aquatic Center manager, Betsy Steuber, and how many lifeguards were to apply for this summer season. The cost is an un-budgeted cost of an estimated $38,000 for training and paying employees.

The motion made was to continue the process of placing lifeguards at the lake, but the priority of lifeguards would be to fill the aquatic center first with lifeguards. That motion was approved.

The city council also discussed and approved the motion that bars and restaurants receive an additional 50% refund of the liquor license renewal to the 15 on-sale intoxicating liquor license to business with the funds coming from the Fairmont Liquor Store. The bars and restaurants faced a financial strain due to Gov. Waltz’s two COVID-19 mandatory shutdowns. The shutdowns were from March 17th, 2020 to June 1st, 2020, and then Nov. 20, 2020, to Jan.11, 2021.

The city councils other actions included:

-Approved awarding the bid to the Grant Street water main replacement project to Black Sheep Landscaping, LLP for $119,459.

-Approved awarding the bid for Phase 1 of the lime pond closure project to US Sitework for $654,220

The Fairmont City Council meets for a special meeting on Wednesday at 5 p.m. to discuss the 2021 Five-Year Capital Improvement Plan and Bond Issuance.

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