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City panel OKs first equipment purchase under new policy

WILLMAR — The Willmar Public Works Department has received preliminary approval to buy a new aerial bucket truck under a recent City Council spending policy that requires council approval of equipment purchases of more than $10.000.

The council’s Public Works/Safety Committee will recommend the council purchase the $179,424 truck and two-person aerial bucket. The council meets again Nov. 4.

Taxes and licensing will bring the total cost close to the $192,937 amount budgeted in the 2013 capital improvement program, according to Scott Ledeboer, public works superintendent.

He said the unit will be bought from Altec Industries Inc. of Birmingham, Ala., through the National Joint Powers Alliance of Staples, Minn.

The new unit will replace a 17-year-old truck that has more than 4,000 hours on it. The boom manufacturer is no longer in business and replacement parts are scarce, said Planning Director Bruce Peterson, who is also acting public works director. He said that fatigue in the metal and fiberglass boom is a safety concern.

Peterson said the old truck has a trade-in value of $2,000. But he and Ledeboer recommended the city look at other selling options. The new unit would be delivered in about eight months from the ordering date.

Public Works personnel use an aerial boom truck for trimming trees, hanging banners, rooftop access and other aerial functions, according to Ledeboer.

The truck and aerial bucket were already budgeted in the 2013 capital outlay program, said Peterson. But because the cost exceeds the threshold established by the council, the unit is back before the committee for review prior to authorizing the purchase, he said.

Under the policy adopted by the council Sept. 3, all expenditures over $10,000 in the vehicle replacement program and capital improvement program must be presented to the appropriate committee for approval before the money is expended.

In other business Tuesday, the committee recommended the council approve a $66,651.96 increase in the $347,261 contract with Bollig Inc. of Willmar and AE2S of Fargo, N.D., to modify the scope of engineering services for the MinnWest sanitary sewer lift station/Lakeland Drive project.

The new contract cost will be $413,912.96.

Under the original contract, Bollig completed preliminary plans that included reconstruction of Lakeland Drive and reconstruction of the sewer line under the roadway. The project was originally estimated at $10.3 million.

However, additional analysis requested by the city indicated the sewer line is not at capacity and is in relatively good or fair condition. As a result, an overlay on Lakeland Drive was recommended rather than reconstruction. The new cost estimate is $4.8 million.

Peterson said the Bollig firm had to “take a few steps back’’ and redesign the project for the overlay. The work resulted in some changes in adjacent elevations, which will affect the recreation trail also planned for the project. About the only thing that is not affected, said Peterson, is the design for the railroad quiet zone.

Also this week, the committee recommended the council add an exemption to the proposed dangerous weapons ordinance.

The exemption would allow the taking of fish with bow and arrow in the city limits.

The committee will recommend the ordinance be introduced Monday night for a public hearing on Nov. 18.

David Little
David Little covers the Willmar City Council, Willmar Municipal Utilities and other city news.
(320) 235-1150