Braham holds public hearing on street project

A public hearing was held for the street reclaim project at the Braham City Council meeting June 4.

City Engineer Brian Miller provided a feasibility study of the project that would improve the conditions of 10 streets totaling about 1.1 miles that have undergone payment deterioration and structural damage in addition to gravel roads that will be paved to improve street conditions.

Miller explained the proposed improvements to the streets will involve reclaiming the streets by grinding the existing pavement into a mixture to serve as a more feasible base for reconstruction of the streets. The bases will then be topped with a new bituminous pavement to complete the reconstruction process.

Miller said the reconstruction project will also include culvert replacements, fire hydrant replacements, fire hydrant repairs and water main valve replacements.

At least one Braham community member is in favor of the proposed reconstruction.

“I’m very pleased the City Council is putting this project together,” said a representative of Riverwood Centers located on Broadway Avenue. “The street in front of our business is in need of repair.”

A major item of discussion was the project cost for the properties to benefit from the street reconstruction. The total cost of the project is estimated at $455,540. Of this amount, $25,540 is estimated for utility repairs and $23,000 for the reconstruction of the City Hall parking lot. These two items are not being assessed in the balance of $407,000 which is proposed to be assessed at 30 percent to the benefited properties.

Sixty-one minimum residential properties will divide the cost for reconstruction at approximately $2,100 per unit. These units are decided strictly by street address and not by property frontage.

Miller explained properties that are large enough to be subdivided due to the position of existing housing, and that have the potential to accommodate more than one residence, will be assessed as multiple units.

Property owners will be able to enter a repayment plan of approximately $268 annually over 10 years.

The remaining 70 percent of the construction costs will be financed through general tax funds. The city will secure a micro loan most likely through the Minnesota Rural Water Finance Authority to cover those costs.

Among the concerns expressed by Braham residents was the possibility of certain properties receiving multiple assessments, whether construction would affect property owners’ abilities to access their homes and if the plans for new streets would affect the city’s ability to fill in pot holes, affecting current street travel throughout the summer.

“That doesn’t give me a lot of say in what just happened,” a Braham resident said. “To you folks on that are on the board, I would have thought there would have been a little more input when you’re making the decision to change what’s there.”

The City Council ordered bids for construction and will seek to approve construction plans and advertise for bids at the next council meeting July 2. Construction is tentatively planned to start late summer to early fall.

Property owners will have an opportunity to discuss if the assessment is reasonable and fair at the assessment hearing, which is currently scheduled for Oct. 15.

In other action on the council:

•Approved the Community Center water and sewer extension and the plans and specifications presented by the city engineer. With project costs estimated at under $150,000, approval also authorized the solicitation for quotes and bids on the project. The board opted for an open bidding process to allow for more competitive pricing.

•Authorized the advancement of the Pheasant Run Street extension. This will make the site for the Crematory project accessible. The city will initially front the cost of approximately $25,000 and then regain the cost per lots of the Industrial Park and through the sharing of the costs by PICK properties per the developer’s agreement.

•A special event permit was acknowledged for Braham Dollars for Scholars 5K Aug. 3 at the Braham Area Elementary School.

•The Braham Area Chamber of Commerce was approved for a permit for a farmers market from June through October 2013. The market will be located on Broadway Avenue, in Freedom Park, every Thursday from approximately 2-7:30 p.m.

•Rysdam’s Pizza Pub was granted a permit to extend its outside seating area to accommodate five tables. A conditional motion was made to permit the Fieldhouse the use of an outside patio, pending the filing of proper paperwork.