Granite Falls Council consider Electric vehicle charging station grant, renew lease agreement with county

Kyle Klausing
News Editor
Granite Falls Advocate Tribune

The Granite Falls Council held their regular meeting on Monday, September 21. At the top of the agenda was a unanimous vote to approve the new Law Enforcement/ Justice Center lease agreement with Yellow Medicine

County. The previous previous 20-year agreement was originally entered into on August 2, 1999 but has now expired. Previously, Granite Falls paid $80,000 upfront for a portion of architectural, financial, legal, and other costs at the time in addition to a base monthly rental rate. The base rent was calculated at $170 per month or $2,040 yearly. This cost was based on $2.50 per square foot.

The new agreement signed by the city modifies the payment scheme to a charge of $13.00 per square foot for 960 square feet, or $12,480 annually. County Administrator Angie Steinbach stated the $13.00 per square foot is the lowest the county is charging for rental space. The new contract also contains a 3% yearly increase on the anniversary date of the contract.

The contract will be for five years starting on January 1, 2021. Council also considered a proposal to apply for a Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) grant. The grant is for the Electric Vehicle (EV) Fast Charging Corridor (also known as Corridor K), with the City of Granite Falls being specifically identified as a host for an EV charging station. Grant funding consists of $2.66 million and will cover an estimated 80% of the project costs up to $70,000 and a 20% local match with a cap of $70,000. In addition to Granite Falls, CMPAS (Central Municipal Power Agency Service) member Glencoe has also been identified in Corridor K. Despite some concerns over price and the need for such a station, City Manager Crystal Johnson said she would continue to look into the opportunity and bring back more details for members to discuss. Grants are due November 25th and are awarded January 25th. Installation time takes on average 36 months.

Council was informed that contractor Duinincks had completed the bituminous street patches this week. This completes the work bid out under the 2020 Street Maintenance projects. City staff will begin working on final quantities for payment.

Council also received an update on replacement on turbine powerhouse unit #3. The remote operated vehicle (ROV) underwater inspection of the existing unit #3 draft tube took place on September 16. Significant obstructions such as wood and rocks prevented full inspection into the draft tube, however, city staff noted that the fact that the obstructions were identified is helpful for planning the construction work. The crew from JF Brennan Co. performing the ROV inspection estimated it would take a dive team up to 4 days to clear out the draft tube that has silted in within the last few years while the turbine has been idle. This information will be worked into the bidding documents. Bidding for this project is expected to begin sometime in February or March of next year. Procurement of long-lead items would occur throughout 2021 and onsite construction would begin in 2022.