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Winnebago OKs street project

April 12, 2012
Jodelle Greiner - Staff Writer , Fairmont Sentinel

WINNEBAGO - It took some sorting out, but the Winnebago City Council has approved construction of First Avenue Southeast.

Holtmeier Construction of Mankato has the low bid of $1.25 million for Alternate A, which includes concrete for the west block only. City engineer Wes Brown pointed out the bid is $324,189 below the engineer's estimate.

Councilman Rick Johnson announced he would abstain from the vote because he lives on the street.

The first motion to approve the project died for lack of a second. At issue was what tonnage to allow on the street, and which blocks would be 7-ton or 10-ton; items the council discussed at length.

"The contractor is willing to adjust [if the council wants to do a change order]," Brown said.

"I think we've got a good contractor," said Councilman Scott Robertson.

"I've received several phone calls from people who are not on board on this and I'm not comfortable voting for this [as a 10-ton road]," said Councilwoman Stacy Huntington-Scofield.

"First block 10-ton, rest 7-ton?" asked Mayor Randy Nowak.

"Yes," answered Huntington-Scofield.

"I wanted to beef that last block up a little bit," Robertson said.

"We'll negate all the savings with a change order and wind up with a lesser product," said Councilman Chris Ziegler.

The motion was raised again, getting a second. With Johnson abstaining, Robertson and Ziegler voted to accept the bid and type of construction, but Huntington-Scofield voted against the resolution.

The split created a problem. Because Johnson abstained, City Administrator Austin Bleess informed the council the vote needed to be unanimous, and that Nowak also needed to vote.

After more discussion, Robertson, Ziegler, Huntington-Scofield and Nowak voted for the resolution with Johnson abstaining. Then the council voted, with Johnson still abstaining, to send the resolution back to the utility committee for a possible change order.

Turning to other business, the council voted to rescind a liquor license approved for Darrel Robertson at 510 Main St. South because he announced his intention not to utilize the license at that location.

Scott Robertson said he would abstain from the vote.

Darrel Robertson then requested approval for a liquor license for 618 Main St. South, the former Winne Mart location, owned by J&R Properties. Darrel Robertson pointed out he has passed the background check, has insurance, and meets all other requirements.

"All I'm asking is a change of location," he said. "It's a cost-savings for me."

However, the city had not received proof of an agreement to utilize the property as requested, Bleess said. Because the agreement on the other property fell through, Bleess thought it was in the city's best interest to have a signed copy of the agreement for the Winne Mart location before issuing a license.

Earlier in the meeting, Dave Schuster, owner of Schooter's Bar & Grill, 560 Main St. South, voiced his objections to having a new liquor store "right next to me."

"Don't see how it will benefit a town this size," he said.

A motion to issue a liquor license to Darrel Robertson at the new location was made by Johnson but died for lack of a second.

In other business, the council:

o Approved summer hours for City Hall, from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays, starting May 14 and ending Sept. 14.

o Recommended pay raises for librarian Heidi Schutt and Public Works employee Brennan Johnson on their one-year anniversaries; deputy city clerk Megan Boeck's two-year anniversary; and police officer Brittney Gehrking's six-month review.

o Accepted Hellen Dressen's resignation from the library board. Kalene Winter was appointed to take her place.

o Hired KayLynn Scheid as an emergency medical technician.



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