County OKs bids for road projects, rejects request for property tax leniency
WILLMAR -- Bids for two major road projects were approved Tuesday by the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners.
Both projects came in well under the engineer's estimate and both contracts were awarded to Duininck Bros. Inc. of Prinsburg.
The low bid to rebuild a three-mile section of County Road 41, known as the Radio Station Road, and a short portion of County Road 24 that goes to the Willmar golf course, was $2,705,695. That number was $381,894 below the engineer's estimate of $3,087,589.
There were two other bidders: Central Specialties Inc. from Alexandria had a bid of $2,884,715 and Chad Monson Excavating LLC from Willmar had a bid of $3,102,718.
The low bid to regrade Kandiyohi County Road 2, which extends to Ren-ville County Road 16, was $2,478,136.
That number was $463,963 under the engineer's estimate of $2,764,071.
That 3.4-mile project, located in the southern edge of Kandiyohi County southeast of Lake Lillian and the northern segment of Renville County, had been on the 2010 construction calendar. The project was targeted for federal stimulus funding, which accelerated the timeline.
There were two other bidders: Central Specialities Inc. had a bid of $2,367,849 and Knife River Corporation North Central of Sauk Rapids had a bid of $2,478,136.
Although sympathetic, the commissioners on Tuesday rejected a request by Steve Jennings, of M&J Builders, to reduce penalty fees that he anticipated receiving for an expected late payment on his property taxes.
The first half property taxes aren't due until May 15, but Jennings said slow sales of his housing units would make it difficult for him to pay the nearly $30,000 taxes on time.
The developer said he wasn't asking for a full waiver on the penalty, but perhaps a reduction in the fees. He said an extension of a couple months would give him time to complete some sales and make the full tax payment.
Chairman Dennis Peterson said if Jennings' request was approved, there would be a "whole line of people standing out here."
Commissioner Richard Falk said there would be a line of county taxpayers all the way "to the First Street bridge" asking for the same extension and reduction.
"We all have extenuating circumstances," Falk said. The county "just cannot get involved" without doing the same for everyone else.
Commissioner Richard Larson said he admired Jennings for trying to deal with the issue before it became a problem, but he said the county had no mechanism to handle such a request.
In other action Tuesday, the commissioners agreed to make changes in how solid waste fees are assessed to mobile home parks.
The action was taken after hearing from Mike Potjer, owner of Shady Oaks Mobile Home Park in Lake Lillian. Potjer said he's overpaid the county more than $3,000 over several years because of what he called an unfair assessment.
His park is platted for 15 sites and he has been paying $40 annually for each site.
But he told the commissioners that the park has been only 50 percent occupied for many years. He said some lots are left vacant on purpose to provide additional green space for residents. Potjer said assessments should be applied to only the occupied sites.
Jeff Bredberg, director of environmental services, said because of the transient nature of mobile home parks, and the difficulty in knowing how many sites are occupied at a given time, the assessments should be applied to all the platted sites.
Potjer said he didn't want to undertake the expense of replatting the park.
The board unanimously approved a proposal by Commissioner Harlan Madsen that would make adjustments to the fees for all mobile home parks.
Under the plan, park owners would ask their city office to certify how many units are occupied. That information would have to be written on city letterhead and sent to the county auditor by Jan. 1 of each year. The appropriate fees could then be applied accordingly, he said.
Under the motion that was approved, the change would be only for future assessments and would not be retroactive. The amendment would be "fair and reasonable," said Madsen.