Perham City Council hears update on interchange project
The Perham City Council heard an update on the Highway 10-Highway 34 interchange project at a special meeting held on June 22.
The council heard a presentation from Les Bjerketvedt with the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) office in Detroit Lakes. The interchange project, he said, came about partly because of the new Perham Memorial Hospital and Home, which will need easier access to Highway 10 for emergency vehicles.
Bjerketvedt told the city council that a consultant is helping to complete designs for the project, which would be finished by the end of the month.
Construction on the interchange will likely begin in spring 2012, and possibly be finished by the fall.
The council also held a public hearing on the interchange, which was required by MnDOT to move forward with planning for the project. No citizens came forward to comment.
Following the hearing, the council approved two resolutions - one giving MnDOT municipal consent to move forward with the planning process, and another entering into an economic development grant, committing Perham to the city's share of the project costs o about $50,000.
The council also discussed an ad that the city put out for painting exterior wood and metal finishes on city hall. The city received no quotes from businesses for the painting.
Dave Neisen suggested that the lack of response is related to EPA guidelines on how to deal with lead-based paint and with historic buildings (Perham City Hall has such a designation).
"It's possible that local painters are leery," he said, "because they're not sure how they contain chipping paint, especially with Turtle Races going on down below."
Mayor Tim Meehl suggested that the city should look into testing the paint to see if it is indeed lead-based.
Councilman Jim Johnson suggested that Neisen contact local painters and ask why they didn't bid on the city's project to see if it is related to concerns about lead-based paint.
Neisen said that he would check into getting the paint tested, and then proceed from there.
In other business, City Manager Kelcey Klemm talked briefly about the state budget and the impending government shutdown.
Klemm went over a budget document that he received at a Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities conference.
"It seems like this shutdown is going to happen, but no one knows what that means," he said.
"This could go on for a long time," Meehl added. "It's ugly."
Committee of the whole meeting
The city council and committee of the whole heard a presentation from Roy Lunde with Brady, Martz and Associates regarding the city's 2010 audit.
Lunde said that, overall, the city's funds did well, and that it was a good financial year for the city, despite cuts to local government aid (LGA).
"Your balances are good," he said.
Lunde went over several factors that he said could have an impact on the city's finances in the future. These included:
-Expansion of the city, which would require the council to possibly sell debt to finance.
-Landmark Liquors experiencing an increase in revenue.
-The economy in Perham and the surrounding area, which Lunde called "pretty stable."
"There are good signs," he said. "You don't see the bad signs that you see on a national level, like job loss."
In other business, Perham Fire Chief Mark Schmidt told the council that he was in communication with fire departments throughout the county on a $1 million FEMA radio grant. Schmidt asked the council about the possibility of the Perham Fire Department acting as the host department to complete the grant.
The council agreed to put it on the agenda for the June 29 special meeting. Schmidt said that he would find out more about what it would mean to be the host department and bring that to the meeting.
The June 29 special meeting at 5:15 p.m. will include a presentation from Community Growth Institute on a smart streets grant obtained from SHIP.