The Granite Falls City Council approved an additional expenditure in association with the Granite Falls Dam Turbine Replacement Project bringing cost overruns approaching nearly 3/4 of a million dollars––and the project is not yet complete.

The Granite Falls City Council approved an additional expenditure in association with the Granite Falls Dam Turbine Replacement Project bringing cost overruns approaching nearly 3/4 of a million dollars––and the project is not yet complete.

In accordance with the National Emission Standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency, the city of Granite Falls approved  a $149,997 proposal to prepare plans and specifications for the purchase and installation of diesel engine emission controls on the city’s three diesel engines.

The proposal was approved through the passage of three resolutions  authorizing a 1/3 of the total project to be payable after installation, a 1/3 after a successful compliance and the final 1/3 upon the completion of training and final documentation. Additionally, City Manager Bill Lavin noted that to finance the project the city would likely want to issue General obligation Temporary Certificates, which provide more cost feasibility and ease of issuance––including a three year term at one percent interest.

It was back in October of 2013  that council members voted to replace two hydro-electric generating turbines and update associated Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system at the Granite Falls Dam.

The contract was awarded to low bidder of Robert L. Carr Company, of Marshall, in the amount $1.346 million to replace the turbines. Abond sale of $1.9 million would fund the proposal, which also included cost contingencies, engineering fees and the SCADA system expenses.

Since then, however, weather, the river and other unforseen expenses, including: stop log removal, additional generator repair and cleaning costs as well as repairs to the physical plant of the dam discovered only after a coffer dam was put in place this summer and the site was de-watered.   

The project stems from the initiative to improve the turbine efficiencies of generation operations in order that the city can benefit from generating rather than purchasing on the open market.

An initial review of the project based upon initial expenses by the city’s power purchasing agent, Central Minnesota Municipal Power Agency, projected a pay back period of 20 years.

In other news:
•The council held its annual Truth in Taxation hearing, which provides community members an overview of the city budget and allows for input. However, no public was in attendance.

•In accordance with the city’s annual reorganizational meeting, council members motioned to continue to function through the use of “The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure”, hold meetings on the first and third Mondays of the month at 7:30 p.m and to re-elect  councilman Steve Schaub to vice-president to serve in the absence of the mayor.  In addition, council members reviewed assignments and open seats for City Boards and Commissions and also renewed city licenses.

Concerning City Board and Commission vacancies, there are two Utility Commission seats open and one for the Planning Commission, both of which are three year terms. Interested parties may contact city hall 564-3011.

•Council approved a $17,435 change order request by Stantec Engineering stemming from the water treatment plant demotion and Site Improvement projects. Additional expenses were in relation to the relocation of new landscaping as well as the removal of lime sludge.

•Council members supported a resolution supporting an increase to Local Government Aid in the 2016  Legislative Session.

•Following a request from the Upper Minnesota Valley Regional Development Commission, council agreed to amend a contract with the RDC for fiscal agent services related to the now complete Sanitary Sewer Lift Station project.  Reimbursable under the DNR Flood Mitigation Granite Program, the contract for services was amended from $6,250 to a not-to-exceed amount of $10,000.

•The city approved 2016 hourly snow removal rates for snowblowers ($120/hr), trucks, ($90 per hour) and snowblowers ($145 per hour) . Dean and Don Buesing.
Based on these contract rates, for 2014 the Buesings received $4,567 and in 2015, $2,250. The 2016 rate is consistent with that of the 2014/15 rate.