At the Feb. 16 regular meeting of the Aitkin City Council, Bolton and Menk, Inc. principal engineer Phil Martin requested that the council approve his request to go out for bids on the 2021 street improvement projects.

That request was added for the council’s consideration as new business.

Martin listed the three street  improvement projects that the council had previously approved:

• First Street Northwest between Eighth Avenue and 12th Avenue Northeast

• First Street Northeast between Minnesota Avenue and First Avenue Northeast

• Third Street Northeast between Minnesota Avenue and First Avenue Northeast

Bids for the first segment were thought to be too high last year, so the city wanted to request bids again.

The segment of Third Street NE between Minnesota Avenue and First Ave NE will see a “50-year improvement” to the segment, Martin said.  

Bolton and Menk want to get as may bids as possible for the planned work. The goal is to advertise the improvements for public bid on or near Feb. 24 and schedule the opening of bids on or near March 17.  

“The dates could slide a few days depending on weather and other factors, but that’s our goal,” said Martin.

Council members unanimously approved the proposal to go out for bids on the three projects.

STREET

DEPARTMENT

Street Department supervisor Bob Nicko presented the maintenance agreement between the city of Aitkin and the Aitkin County Highway Department for the period July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022, for the city council’s approval.

Council member Kathy Galliger said she had observed  a significant increase in workers compensation insurance from the League of Minnesota Cities; she asked whether the amount per mile being charged for street maintenance work is  still adequate in view of that increased expense.

For 2020-21 the municipal maintenance agreement was $12,425.69 per mile and for 2021-2022 it is proposed as $10,566.34 per mile. Galliger thinks the figure sounds low and asked Nicko to check into how the amount was derived, what the source of the amount is and whether it reflects the purchase of a new truck, and the significant increase in workers compensation insurance.  

Galliger asked Nicko to check the agreement numbers and get back to the city council. The mileage rate  has not gone up enough to cover the added expenses,  and has in fact gone down, she said. Nicko said he would check.  

Galliger asked, “Do we have something to say about this (increase in workers compensation) or is it a situation where we have no choice?”

The municipal maintenance agreement was removed from the consent agenda and tabled until more information can be obtained.

IN OTHER BUSINESS

Mayor Megan Workman and city council members welcomed new police officer Joseph Fuhrman to the force. Fuhrman said that  so far he is very impressed with the city of Aitkin and is happy to be here.

Committee reports will be included in the consent agenda for future city council meetings, unless there is a desire to pull the items out for further discussion.

Prior to the regular meeting, Aitkin Fire Chief Brian Pisarek facilitated a planning meeting of the city council.

The results of that work session will be published separately when they are available.

Two new street closure permits for Aitkin United Methodist Church were approved for Good Friday and Easter week church services.

The next regular meeting of the Aitkin City Council is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Monday, March 1 at the Aitkin Public Library.

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