CRV wraps up Benson Lane Project

By : 
SCOTT BESTUL
TRI-COUNTY RECORD

The City of Rushford Village (CRV) Council seems to finally have put the Benson Lane project behind them. In the Dec. 4 meeting, the council heard a final report from Project Engineer Derek Olinger. Olinger submitted an invoice for the Benson Lane project that totaled $48,408. This amount did not include a $900 fee for testing concrete that was poured during cold weather conditions, and that fee was discussed by the council at the request of Ryan Oian, of Generation X Construction. Oian’s company was hired by the CRV to complete the Benson Lane construction.

According to Olinger, concrete was poured during cold weather and, as project overseer, Olinger had concerns about the concrete being held at an adequate temperature during the curing process. Though Oian assured Olinger that he had used a mix that would set up more quickly, and he had tested the mix with a monitor, Olinger had insisted the final product be tested by an independent firm to insure quality. “We’ve poured thousands of yards of concrete in the winter, and I had a monitor that recorded above-freezing temps,” Oian said. “[Derek] didn’t believe me, which forced me to hire the testing for $900. I don’t think I should have to pay for that.”

But Olinger defended his decision, noting, “The reason we requested the testing was I had a reasonable suspicion that the concrete wasn’t handled correctly and wouldn’t set up properly.” In the discussion that followed, council members agreed that while Oian had provided a good product that they were happy with, Olinger was correct in ordering the independent test. “I think [Generation X] actually benefitted from the testing,” said City Attorney Thomas Manion. “There was a properly raised question about the project and the test was a legitimate response.” The council approved the payment of the bill of $48,400 to Bolton and Menk, and accepted Olinger’s recommendation to disregard Oian’s request to pay the bill for testing.

One aspect of the Benson Lane project that remains open is the disposal of waste concrete that was removed prior to the construction. In early discussions regarding Benson Lane, it was thought that waste concrete could be hauled to the City of Rushford disposal site, but that is no longer an option. Other possibilities, such as hauling the material to Winona, were discussed. But Oian informed the council that the City of Winona has started charging $80 per load of material, and estimated there were “about 15 loads of concrete” that needed to be disposed of from the project. While an end destination for this concrete remained undetermined, Oian assured the council he had the equipment to break up concrete into smaller pieces and haul it to an appropriate site. The council thanked Oian for his work on this, and other projects for CRV and also for appearing at the meeting.

Zoning discussion

CRV resident Terry Hubbard addressed the board during the citizen input portion of the meeting regarding a shed he wishes to construct on his property. Hubbard had applied for a building permit for the shed but was denied, as CRV zoning rules don’t permit a shed/outbuilding to be erected between the primary dwelling (home) and the main road. Hubbard addressed the board and noted that he wanted the shed for extra storage space and was currently forced to rent such space. “My property taxes keep going up, and I don’t mind paying them,” Hubbard noted. “But I do mind if I can’t do anything with my property.”

Mayor Johnson informed Hubbard that the only way to construct the shed was to apply for a variance, which would have to undergo a public hearing process for approval. When Hubbard wondered when this would occur, Planning/Zoning Administrator Jon Pettit said, “I can’t ask the council to set a public hearing date until I have an application, and the fee for a variance. When I get that request, I will set a timeline.” Pettit estimated that a public hearing could be held sometime in January or February.

Non-resident trash pickup

At last month’s meeting, the council had agreed to extend a trash pickup route to include a residence that did not lie within CRV boundaries, but the agreement had not been formalized. Clerk Mary Miner informed the council that the amount of damage deposit for the trash cart would be $107 and she had received the check from the resident. “My question is, do we hold the check and cash it later if we need to, or cash it now and refund the money in case if the cart is undamaged at the end [of the service]?” Attorney Manion advised cashing the check immediately and Miner said she would do so.

Truth in Taxation Meeting

The council stopped the regular meeting at 7:30 p.m. to hold a Truth in Taxation session for any citizens interested in addressing the council. No one appeared with questions or concerns, though the council waited for 10 minutes. At this point they re-adjourned the regular meeting.

CEDA

Last month the council discussed the possibility of continuing their relationship with CEDA (Community and Economic Development Association), despite the loss of their usual rep. “There was some good information shared between us and Bryce (Lange) and I don’t want that work to be lost,” said Councilor Overland, who had attended recent CEDA meetings with other council members. Overland also noted that, should the council agree to extend the contract, there would be revisions, such as monthly progress updates. The board approved the continuation of their contract with CEDA.

The regular meeting adjourned to go into closed meeting to discuss labor negotiations.

Schedule

The next regular meeting of the City of Rushford Village Council will be held on Dec. 18 at 7 p.m. All members of the public are welcome to attend.