Aitkin Graphic

The Aitkin County Board approved a planned purchase of a new truck for the Highway Department at its May 12 meeting.

The vehicle, a mechanic’s service vehicle, will replace unit 465, which Aitkin County Engineer John Welle called “basically a pickup truck with a bunch of compartments in the back for tools.”

The vehicle was purchased in a hurry in 2012 as a replacement for a vehicle that was totaled in a crash that year. The vehicle was fit into the replacement schedule for this year.

Welle admitted to the board that the bid on the replacement “missed the mark.” Aitkin Motor Company will provide the Ford F550 truck chassis, while Bert’s Truck Equipment in Moorhead will provide the service body, crane and compressor for the truck.

While it was originally budgeted for $58,000, the combined cost for the two portions of the project is $94,961.

Well said that the sale of unit 465 is $25,000, which will bring the cost down to $69,931.

“We failed to recognize the additional cost on the diesel engine,” Welle said.

He added that the department has been below costs on other purchases, and the cost overage on this purchase would balance out as a result.

The board unanimously approved the purchase and the sale of the old unit.

Well also gave a quick update on Co. Rd. 3, which had been delayed in the bidding process because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Anderson Brothers of Brainerd submitted the low bid of $3.608 million for the project, which is under the estimated cost of $3.627 million.

The bid was approved.

In other action at the meeting:

• A mutual aid agreement with the Minnesota District 2 sheriffs was approved.

Aitkin County Sheriff Dan Guida said that there is no change in the mutual aid agreement, which has been in place since about 2007.

County Administrator Jessica Seibert said that the county attorney said the form was appropriate, but that the agreement needed to have a line added to indicate it was between the signatories on the agreement.

It was approved.

•  Ross Wagner, the Economic Development and Forest Industry coordinator, received approval to  hire Widseth Engineering out of Baxter to move forward with the engineering for the Mille Lacs East ATV trail.

• The county board approved a pair of changes requested for timber sales – the first to remove a penalty fee for a sale that didn’t remove the timber on time, and the second to grant limited authority to Land Commissioner Rich Courtemanche to grant a second extension for timber sales due to adverse weather.

• Seibert gave the board a quick update on the COVID-19 situation, saying that many counties are looking at a potential June 1 reopening.

Seibert explained that Long Lake Conservation Center has had numerous events canceled, and staff is furloughed.

Also, Seibert brought a change order to  the board for work in the courthouse, for $14,135 to even out the floor in courthouse to re-lay tile.

Dorhorst Tile will do the work, and the item was approved.

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