BAXTER -- The Baxter City Council Tuesday awarded a Brainerd company a $3.5 million road contract for the 2004 Inglewood Drive and Clearwater Road area improvement project, but not before council members questioned whether the company could accomplish the job.
Tom's Backhoe Services in Brainerd was the lowest responsible bidder for the project at $3,491,934.34. Council member Darrel Olson, among others, questioned city staff as to whether owner Tommy Thompson and his employees could complete such a large job on time.
Public Works Director Trevor Walter said Thompson has talked about subcontracting with Anderson Brothers to hire an additional crew for the project. If the project is not completed on schedule, the city could impose fines of $900 a day. Walter said Tom's Backhoe has had to have contract extensions on other city projects in the past, but the projects are always completed.
"Tom has been in my office virtually every day talking about this project," said city engineer Kevin Wernberg, noting that Thompson turned down another job this summer to focus on this project. "Yeah, we've had struggles with Tom, but he's a competent contractor and he can get the job done. He's dead serious about this project."
In other council action, the city authorized an interim conditional use permit for Prairie Bay Restaurant to operate a farmer's market and artist sale on its property.
City Planner Todd Holman told the council that there is ample parking to host such a market. The parking area was designed to accommodate a proposed 42-unit expansion at the nearby Comfort Suites Rapid River Lodge and Waterpark and another proposed restaurant, two construction projects that have yet to materialize.
Holman said the interim CUP allows the city the opportunity to revisit and revoke the CUP if the hotel is expanded and a new restaurant is built.
The council declined to reconsider a lot line interpretation for Gary Scheeler's proposed business at the Crow Wing County Road 77 and Highway 371 intersection.
The city heard a 2003 audit presentation from LarsonAllen.
The council approved the Anderson Brothers crack sealing proposal for $27,500 and its proposal for miscellaneous shouldering in the city.
The council approved the Widseth Smith Nolting proposal for engineering services for project management and construction staking for the 2004 Meredith, Norway and Lancer area utility and roadway improvements at an estimated cost of $85,000.
The council requested the League of Minnesota Cities review its contract for interim building official services with West Central Inspection Service.
The council approved its JOBZ business subsidy policy.
The city accepted an annexation petition for the Dan Weichmann property and set a public hearing for 7:30 p.m. July 20.
Mayor Gary Muehlhausen commended the Brainerd Noon Sertoma Club for its flag project, which lined major thoroughfares in Brainerd and Baxter with hundreds of American flags on Memorial Day. The flags will be put up again on Flag Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day and Sept. 11.
JODIE TWEED can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5858.
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