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The Granite Falls City Council kicked off their first meeting of the year this past Monday by taking care of a number of annual housekeeping items as well as the sale of $475,000 in General Obligation Equipment bonds in relation to the purchase of a new pumper truck for the Granite Falls Fire Department.
The purchase of the fire truck was complete at the time the council actually approved the bond sale, as the need to expedite the purchase motivated the city to borrow from existing funds from unrelated departments that will now be repaid with the bond proceeds.
Low bidder on the bond was the city's very own Granite Falls Bank, which bested two other parties with its interest rate offering of 2.6858 percent. The total interest cost on the 10-year issuance comes in at $74,305––an over $8,000 savings to the city when compared with the interest rate of the next closest bid.
According to Fire Chief Dave Beasley, the Granite Falls Fire Department has been without use of a 1977 Ford Pumper Truck following an August 21 certification test wherein the K-M Fire Pump Specialist discovered that the truck's engine and pump performance were deficient to a degree that would not allow the specialist to re-certify the truck without repair moving forward.
With repair costs expected to run three times the amount of the current truck's value and a used truck providing a more temporary fix, Beasley said it was the fire department's opinion that the most prudent course of action would be to replace the existing pumper with a new fire truck.

In other news:
• Council members approved Steve Schaub as vice-chair, which is responsible for filling in for the Mayor in case of his absence.
• Council members reappointed City, Airport and Electrical Engineers for 2014.
Current Engineer Dave Berryman, of Berry-man and Assoc-iates in Montevideo, was reappointed as City Engineer. Meanwhile, Mankato firm, Bolton & Menk, was reappointed as the city's airport engineer and Dallas Olson, with HDR Engineering out of Minneapolis, the City's Electrical Engineer.
Each outfit installed hourly increases on a number of services at varying rates. Principal Engineering services provided by Berryman and Associates increased from $125 to $127; for Bolton & Menk, $140-$198 per hour; and HDR from $199 to $288.
• Council members approved the 2014 City Attorney Contract with Greg Holmstrom of Holmstrom and Kvam. Legal services retained by the city in 2013 totaled $66,045, which was roughly $750 less than the year prior.
In sum, legal services totaled approximately 30 hours a month. The base retainer of $1,400 provides for 24 hours of service per quarter. Any hours in excess of this would then be billed at $200.
Terms of the City Attorney's contract with the city have remained unchanged since 2010.
• Council accepted a proposal from David Hammerschmidt to continue providing assessment services, as he has the past several years. An annual cost of $30,000 remained unchanged.
• Council approved an $87,232 expenditure of unrestricted funds from with the city's flood mitigation for engineerings services from Widseth Smith Nolting associated with rehabilitation of the pedestrian bridge.