Backus City Council opted to purchase their own water meters - and have them installed - rather than including the $43,000 project cost in their $3.2 million wastewater project.
The decision was made Monday night at the regular council meeting.
The city will avoid a contractor markup by coordinating the project themselves, purchasing the water meters and having them installed by the Pine River Area Sanitary District.
Lee Bundy, of PRASD, is currently the Backus' water/sewer operator. Once the wastewater project is complete, Backus will be pumping its sewage to Pine River for treatment at the PRASD facility south of town.
The council also approved a $3,337 emergency purchase of main lift station impellers. They also approved an owner-operator agreement to be submitted to USDA Rural Development for the wastewater project. The council OKed $6,500 in additional engineering costs to Short Elliott Hendrickson to redesign the force main location. In 2011 DNR wanted the project's forcemain as close to the Paul Bunyan Trail as possible. Then, in spring 2012, they requested it be as far away from the trail as possible.
The council heard its 2011 audit report from Certified Public Accountant Julie Nelson of Mayer, Porter, Beinhorn & Rowe, Ltd. of Staples.
The council reviewed the independent auditor's report, financial statements from 2011 and supplementary information.
Nelson said that the city-owned senior townhomes has a deficit cash balance. The city is not collecting enough to pay for its expenses and debt payments on the townhomes. Even with the rent increase in 2011, there was a net loss of $1,800 on the townhomes. Around $2,187 in back rent is owed on the townhomes.
The council approved having Thelen Heating of Brainerd conduct a service call to inspect and assess the townhome heating system.
In other city matters the council:
Passed a resolution authorizing the mayor and city clerk to sign an airport maintenance/operation grant agreement for the airport.
Denied letters requesting adjustments in water bills. Approved $260 in dues for membership to Minnesota Rural Water Association.
Approved a $285 purchase for a load of pea rock to be used at the Head Start building playground. The council had previously approved an incorrect quote of $125 per load.
Approved a public hearing on a variance request for 215 Hazel Street pending a letter of request from the owner and proof of ownership. The residence is too close to the property lines and would need a variance to make repairs to the building. The hearing is set for 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 6.
Denied a request to vacate the city's north-south alley between Lakeside Drive and Wood Street, north of Park Avenue.
Approved improvements to the city sign on Highway 371. There will be opportunities for additional businesses to advertise on the sign.
Approved on-sale, Sunday liquor and off-sale licenses for Guy and Diane Willis, owners of Willard's Saloon.
Approved the sale of Cornfest Raffle Tickets at city hall.
Passed a resolution renewing the city's worker's compensation insurance with the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust. The insurance premium for the year is $6,150.
Approved an application by Zambelli Fireworks to display fireworks at Cornfest on Saturday, Aug. 11.
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