Braham hires contractors for street project, community center

The Braham City Council approved a bid for the 2013 street improvement project in an Aug. 6 meeting.

City Engineer Brian Miller presented two bids; the council accepted a bid of $327,410 from Knife River Corporation for pavement work on 10 city streets and the City Hall parking lot.

Of the $327,410, approximately $23,954 is expected to fund the industrial park street extension. Property tax payers will be held harmless for this portion of the bid. The remaining balance of $303,455 is within the anticipated budget of $318,000 according to the feasibility study performed on projected project costs.

Miller also discussed three bids for utility extension work for the Community Center. Miller explained that in addition to the base bids, two alternative bids to the base bid were requested of each contractor to include directional drilling alternatives aimed at saving money.

D&M Excavating provided both the lower base bid for construction and the lowest bid for each alternative. Miller recommended that the council consider the hiring of D&M with an alternative directional board option to extend the water main from Eighth and Southview Street to the Community Center. This alternative was projected to cost $89,400.

Miller explained that this alternative would save the city money in the long run. Although extending the water main from 10th Street would save the city approximately $7,600 up front, it does not contribute to the future looping of the water main with additional developments taking place to the west. Miller estimated that it would costs the city an additional $90,000 to make the extension from Eighth and Southview in the future. The council moved to hire D&M with the alternative.

City financial advisor Dave Drown briefed the council on the city’s attainment of a $521,000 Minnesota Rural Water Finance Authority bond for the 2013 street project. Drown said that the loan option was beneficial because it allows the city to borrow less due to issuance fees being of lesser cost and it offers flexibility with lower penalties for paying the loan off in advance of its term.

The bond will cover the 70 percent of costs the city has committed to contributing toward the street improvements. The debt will be held at a 3.8 percent interest rate over a 15-year term. After the initial year through 2014, annual payments will cost the city approximately $46,200. The city will have access to these funds by Aug. 20 in advance of street construction scheduled to start early fall.

In other action the council: 

• The city approved a special event permit for the Chamber of Commerce for the Braham Sizzling Sidewalk Sale and Hillbilly Hoedown event to be hosted on Aug. 16 starting at 7 p.m.

• An interim use permit was approved for Rysdam’s Pizza Pub to open the back gate to its patio for the purposes of access for guests at the Braham Sizzling Sidewalk Sale and Hillbilly Hoedown event. Approval of the interim permit was made with the stipulation that no alcohol be served or sold from the back patio. Rysdam’s Pizza Pub also agreed to have a security guard at the back gate to ensure no alcohol leaves the premises.

• The city adopted the annual update on data practices policy. The policy defines guidelines for creating city data in compliance with the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act and public access to data.

• Leaf’s Construction water and sewer connection license was approved.

• The board approved a budget donation request of $750 to benefit the Initiative Foundation for 2014. The donation request is up from $600 in years past. The Initiative Foundation directs resources aimed at economic success in Isanti County. To date, the foundation has collected $1.1 million in donations and returned $3 million in grants, loans and scholarships to the county.

• A survey report on Braham’s public water system was reviewed and moved on by the council. The results showed the absence of bacteria and coliform.

• A grant contract for Housing and Commercial Rehab was approved by the council for the city to use state funds to address the needs of the city to expand economic opportunities for low- to moderate-income families, provide affordable housing and meet public facility needs. The state is obligated to compensate the city for $613,410 in those efforts.

• The council moved on the policy and procedure manual for small city development. The manual outlines how the city will approach its rehabilitation of low-income housing and deteriorating commercial buildings.

• Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church was approved for an annual special event permit. The church will host its first 5K run/walk on Sept. 21 beginning at 8:30 a.m.