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Granite Falls Advocate Tribune - Granite Falls, MN
  • Clarkfield water tower bids rejected, second opinion requested

  • Bids found to be $30,000-40,000 shy of a new tower.
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    The long and arduous process of the water tower reconstruction took another turn as the Clarkfield City Council voted to reject all the construction bids.
    “I don’t see any other fiscally responsible thing to do other than to reject,” Bob Schlenner said. “These [bids] are ridiculous.”
    Public Works Director Jeff Lobdell recommended to the council to reject the bids after discovering that the cost of a new water tower was only roughly $30,000-40,000 higher than the current bids for reconstruction.
    Going the route of a new tower would guarantee a longer lasting structure compared to just refurbishing the current tower, and would also allow the bonus of a shorter water shutoff time, as a new tower would be built in a different location and then would be switched over when completed. However, the cost, with rough estimates upwards of $500,000, still plagued the decision.
    The council, however, did not decide whether a new tower or a new bidding process with a longer construction window was the best option, on top of a growing list of other options moving forward.
    The council then approved a motion to allow Bollig Inc., an engineering firm out of Willmar, to research their situation and give a second opinion for $1000, including looking into grants and other funding opportunities.
    In other news:
    • Care Center Director Murray Finger expressed in his monthly update to the council a recommendation that they pursue alternative planning in the case that the future market does not favor skilled nursing.
    “Even though we have every intention to fill beds, I think we should still look into more information,” Murray said.
    This included looking into more avenues for assisted living and expanding the Home Health Care system.
    Murray also discussed moving forward with the creation of a professional advisory group to oversee the actions of the Care Center and Home Health Care for more transparency and responsibility.
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