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Emily City Council Hears Update On Status of City Bridges

Web posted April 9, 2019
By Bill Monroe, Northland Press Correspondent

(Editor’s Note: The following article was written from the unapproved minutes of a meeting of the Emily City Council held on Tuesday, March 19, as provided by the City Clerk.)

The Emily City Council heard an update on the status of bridges in the city when it met in regular session Tuesday, March 12. Members present included Acting Mayor Gerhart Hanson and council members Bryce Butcher, Wesley Friesner, and Bill Spiess. Also present were City Attorney Tom Pearson, City Engineer Jeff Ledin, City Clerk Cari Johnson and Deputy City Clerk Pam Roden.

Roads and Bridges
Rob Hall, Assistant County Highway Engineer, reported that the County has not received final billing from the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) for the county’s portion of the State Highway 6 Road Reconstruction Project. The county will send an invoice for the city’s portion after receiving the MnDOT final billing.

Certified Bridge Inspector Wayne Dosh attended the meeting to give a presentation on the city’s bridge inspection reports. Dosh reported the Emily Dam Bridge decking has deteriorated and ants have damaged one of the exterior bridge timbers. The decking has lost about one and one-half inches out of three inches in the wheel paths. The ants damaged the bridge timber at the maximum sheer point of the bridge. The city is planning a project to replace the decking and exterior bridge timbers this summer. There is some serious rusting of the steel beams which must be cleaned. Maintenance should coordinate and clean the beams when the decking is removed for replacement. Dosh estimated the deck was last replaced in the 1960’s. The bridge was constructed in 1937. After replacement of the decking and exterior timbers the structure should last another 50 years. The concrete structure is good, he said. Dosh needs to be contacted whenever the water level reaches the line on the water level sign. The water level sign needs to be cleared to be more visible. Dosh reported the overflow is up six to seven inches from the past, but has been maintained and should be acceptable. City Attorney Pearson is working on development of easement agreements with adjacent property owners for maintenance of the bridge.

Dosh reported on the Roosevelt Drive Bridge over Crooked Creek. The bridge was retrofitted in the 1990’s. The wood deck was paved and should be overlaid every 10 to 12 years. A membrane was put down over the wood deck and then overlaid about eight years ago. Crack sealing needs to be completed on the bridge every fall. After potholes of six inches to one foot in diameter appear in the overlay, the city will need to remove the existing asphalt overlay and replace it. No weight should be added to the bridge. The exterior bridge beams will eventually deteriorate, but the interior beams carry the load. The guardrail is acceptable, but the broken boards should be replaced. There are sinkholes on the edges of the deck. The timber wingwalls are being pushed out due to road runoff on the southwest corner of the bridge. Excavation is needed to put the timbers back in place. Dosh recommended paving the slope behind the wingwall to control the route of the water runoff. There is flaking rust that needs to be cleaned. The rust is accelerating the deterioration of the beams. Painting the beams would be cost prohibitive. The cost to replace the bridge would be $300,000 to $400,000 with an additional $50,000 to $60,000 in engineering fees. The water level sign needs to be monitored and Dosh contacted if the level is high. The Roosevelt Bridge has a life expectancy of 20 years with maintenance.

Dosh also reported on the South Shore Drive Bridge over Little Pine River. The bridge is a 30 foot wide culvert design built in 1986. The new guardrail is very good. Due to the design of the bridge the higher the overlay the more the load will be distributed over the structure. The tops of the wingwalls need to be sealed, especially the lower portion. No sinkholes were found during his inspection. The cause of the sinkholes was probably because the mastic seal ends three feet above the top of the footing. The ties that hold the headwalls in place are a weak point in the design. Sinkholes could be caused by the headwalls moving, so Dosh needs to be contacted if any sinkholes appear. The bridge warning signs need to be replaced with more reflective signs. Dosh will send a contractor’s estimate to City Engineer Ledin for sealing the fascia for $65,000 to $70,000, depending on the size of the voids. The contractor would require a barge to work from, such as a pontoon. Dosh recommended budgeting for the repair over a period of years.

Hall said the condition of each bridge is good but the bridges need good preventative maintenance.

If a bridge were to be replaced, Dosh said the box culvert bridge design is the easiest for maintenance if a waterproof membrane is installed over the joints to prevent salt damage. The box culvert bridge design could last 75 to 100 years.

Seal coating would not seal up large cracks in roads. Seal coating works well if there are no cracks. If the road surface is 10 to 12 years old then it is too late to seal coat the road, especially if the road is cupped.

Crow Wing County is working on a five-year highway plan. The city could possibly work on an overlay project in conjunction with Crow Wing County projects.

City Engineer Ledin said five bids were received for the Emily Dam Bridge maintenance project, which will include replacement of timber plank decking and timber exterior beams. S.E.H. recommends awarding the Emily Dam Bridge maintenance project to low bidder Structural Specialties, Inc. for $35,431.00. The current budget for bridge maintenance is $30,000. The council voted to award the contract to Structural Specialties for $35,431. The council also voted to approve the S.E.H. agreement for professional services for $5,000 to provide construction administrative services for the project.

Councilmember Butcher temporarily stepped down from the council dais and did not participate in discussion. Bids were received for 3,000 yards of class five: Emily Sand & Gravel - $18,000 and Moritz Excavating - $21,000. The council accepted the bid of $18,000 from Emily Sand and Gravel.

Public Hearing
The council held a public hearing for public comment on vacation of a portion of the alley at the new maintenance shop location. Acting Mayor Hanson requested public comments. No comments were made by the public. Hanson closed the hearing. During the council meeting, the council voted to vacate that portion of the alley.

Public Forum
Jan Mosman said the location of the planned downtown feature has changed to in front of the Emily Cooperative Telephone Company. There is a potential volunteer to work on maintaining the landscaping of the city hall front entrance and welcome sign. Mosman would like to inform the hall landscaping volunteer of prior issues and resolutions.

On behalf of the council, Hanson presented Mosman with a plaque in appreciation of Mosman’s years of service on the council from 2011 to 2018.

Fire Department Budget
The fire department budget used in calculation of the Fairfield and Little Pine Township fire protection contract rates was $61,716.21 in 2018 and $110,895.96 in 2019. The fire protection contract rate was 2.11 percent of total tax capacity in 2018 and would need to increase to 3.707 percent in 2019. The first response protection contract rate was .56 percent in 2018 and would need to increase to .864 percent in 2019. Due to the large budget increase the clerk recommended reducing the percentages for 2019 to 2.5 percent for fire protection contract rates and .7 percent for first response protection contract rates with incremental annual increases of .5 percent until the total percentages of total tax capacity equal the necessary budget amounts.

The council voted to set the fire protection contract rate at 2.5 percent and first repsonse protection contract rate at .7 percent with annual incremental increases of .5 percent as necessary.

Planning and Zoning
Council liaison Spiess reported the planning commission approved a lot split and vacation of the portion of the alley between Broadway and Washington Street for the location of the new maintenance shop.

City Engineer Ledin reported S.E.H. will provide administration of the Wetland Conservation Act for the city. Crow Wing Soil and Water Conservation District is no longer administering wetland services for the city. S.E.H. staff includes a wetland delineator. S.E.H. provides wetland services to other cities outside of Crow Wing County. The city plans to pass wetland administration service charges on to the applicants. S.E.H. is completing research on the potential tasks and developing wetland administration service charges. Ledin will report to the council on the results of the research.

Maintenance Shop
The council approved a Widseth Smith Nolting proposal to survey the new maintenance shop location for $2,850. The council approved a $75,000 down payment to Nor-Son Construction for work on the project.

City Hall
The council approved a proposal from Emily Cooperative Telephone Company (ECTC) to update the council chambers for video conferencing at a cost not to exceed $6,000. Discussion included consulting the League of Minnesota Cities to make sure council video conferencing regulations are followed.

The council also approved adding $3,000 to the 2020 budget related to a proposal from ECTC to purchase Apple iPads which would be used for paperless council packets at a cost of $249 to $350 each.

There is a volunteer to maintain the hall landscaping, so the landscaping maintenance proposal was not approved.

The council discussed the following possible options to include in a Sourcewell Small Project Partnership Grant application with a match of up to $2,500: two flagpoles at the city public parking lot - $6,300, city information center at the city public parking lot - $600, four pedestrian crosswalk signs - $1,700, and flashing speed limit signs - $2,900 each. The council voted to include two flashing speed limit signs and the information center in the grant application.

The council voted to purchase one 30-foot flagpole and one 25-foot flagpole. The plan is to install the two flagpoles on either side of a city information center on the east edge of the city public parking lot. A sidewalk is also planned to be constructed from the parking lot to the city sidewalk. Direct lighting for the flagpoles is needed. The city will request approval for placement of anything within the State Highway 6 road right-of-way.

The pedestrian crosswalk signs are needed before possible grant funds could be used. The council voted to purchase four pedestrian crosswalk signs for $425 each.

The council voted to rent three portable toilet units from Al’s Sewer Service for $100 each per month.

The Council discussed the Park Commission recommendation to purchase two new basketball poles, backboards, and hoops for the city hall basketball court for $4,740. Deputy Clerk Roden will research cheaper options and the current basketball poles will be inspected. The purchase was tabled until the next meeting.

The Personnel Committee will interview seasonal maintenance applicants and make a recommendation for hiring at the April regular council meeting.

New Business
Granny’s Bar & Grill was sold on March 11 to new owners. Larson Saloon 2, Inc. submitted 2019 liquor license applications for the prior Granny’s Bar & Grill location for on sale intoxicating, off sale intoxicating, and special Sunday liquor licenses and the $100 application fee to be effective April 1, 2019. The background check has been completed. The council approved the Larson Saloon 2 application.

Other Business
In other business, the council:
• Heard that the Emily Volunteer Fire Department presented a plaque to firefighter Brian Foster for exceptional attendance and dedication to the fire department at its last meeting;

• Approved a resolution to donate of $50 to the Emily First Responders Equipment Fund and $50 to the Emily Fire Department from the John Ritter Memorial;

• Voted to send letters of appreciation to the Crow Wing County Highway Department for helping with removal of the large pile of snow in the city’s public parking lot and to the city’s maintenance personnel for doing a good job of snow removal this winter and

• Approved having Gravelle Plumbing and Heating replace the old county shop furnace at a cost of $3,983.

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