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Blackduck City Council receives audit proposal; awards construction bid

Members of the Blackduck City Council met for the regular meeting Nov. 9, receiving the audit proposal from Miller McDonald, Inc. the awarding the bid for the chemical storage room build and hearing an update on the city's blighted properties.

Before hearing about the audit, City Administrator Karin Elhard handed out the resolution for the 2010 meeting schedule which the council unanimously adopted.

The meeting schedule is as follows: Jan.4 and 18, Feb. 8 and 22, March 8 and 22, April 5 and 19, May 3 and 17, June 7 and 21, July 6 and 19, Aug. 9 and 23, Sept. 7 and 20, Oct. 4 and 18, Nov. 8 and 22 and Dec. 6 and 20.

The Blackduck City Council reviewed the correspondence from Beltrami County on the All-Hazard Mitigation Planning with Beltrami County (FEMA). No action was taken.

Elhard went over the bills and fund balances with council members, answering questions about some of the items listed.

The council received a partial pay request from North Star Drilling. Following some discussion, the council voted to pay the estimated amount.

The next item for discussion was the advertising of The Pond and the golf course in the Northwoods Tourism Guide. The cost for the advertisement is $775 or $387.50 for each business.

The Minnesota Northwoods Tourism Bureau explained in a letter to the council, that that would be printing between 30,000-40,000 vacation guides which will reach more than 20 million people.

In addition, the guide will also be distributed at sports shows, tourist information centers, the Mall of America and will be available on the Internet as well as a TV campaign. A film crew will be in the area in mid-July to film the Bemidji, Blackduck and Cass Lake areas.

The audit proposal from Miller McDonald was next on the agenda, which explained to the council, the services that Miller McDonald would be providing the city in the upcoming year.

After some discussion, the council approved the proposal.

The council received correspondence from Jim Wolden of Insurance Services North on behalf of the city's insurance carrier, the League of Minnesota Cities regarding the 54 city-owed light poles and fixtures.

As of this time, the letter stated, these poles and fixtures are not covered property on the city's policy and Wolden explained that they need to be.

After a short discussion, the council voted to decline additional insurance coverage for street lighting poles and fixtures.

The council was informed on two rate adjustment notifications from Paul Bunyan Telephone which concerns an increase in rates for Blackduck Cablevision and Paul Bunyan Television.

The council decided to request additional information from Blackduck Cablevision with regards to the proposed rate increase. An invitation to attend the next council meeting will be sent requesting their attendance to the next council meeting which will be held Nov. 23.

Bids were received on the water treatment plant's chemical storage room enclosure. The first bid was from Jim Krabbenhoft, Jr. of JD Construction for a cost of $9,987. The second proposal came from Jeff Stradtmann of Big Pine Building at a cost of $12,563. Following a short discussion, the council awarded the bid to JD Construction.

The council received a letter from Curt Meyer of Widseth Smith and Nolting on the chemical tank enclosure.

The letter detailed the firm's recommendation to construct the enclosure to isolate the Hudrofluosilicic Acid which gives off corrosive fumes that etches glass and can damage electrical components in the water plant.

He also sent along for the council's perusal, sketches of the recommended improvements.

The council received a letter from E911 Coordinator Jane Mueller concerning the status of roads within the city of Blackduck for use in the county's 911 mapping. The city has no changes for the map although it was noted that the annexation that took place on the north end of town was not reflected in the map. City staff will do further research on this issue.

They also received a request from Mark Schafer, who lives on Northern Ave. Schafer is asking the city's permission to remove four large hybrid trees which are threatening his house. He would like to replace them with new trees.

After a short discussion, the council approved Schafer's request to remove the trees and replace them with more suitable hardwood ones.

Elhard shared information with the council regarding the progress of blighted properties.

She said she was pleased to inform the council of the many success stories. She also indicated that one property owner disapproved of their responsibility to improve the property, therefore conditions were allowed to conform by June 1.

"On behalf of the city staff working on this project," Elhard said, "We thank those residents who have worked diligently to resolve these blight issues."

(Editor's Note: The city's ordinance on blighted or nuisance properties and the ramifications of non-compliance with this ordinance will be explained next week)