City accepts bid on behalf of LVCC

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 9, 2018 — The Tower City Council, missing Mayor Josh Carlson and Alderman Brad Matich who were both absent due to other obligations, approved and accepted just over $285,000 in bids on behalf of the Lake Vermilion Cultural Center to complete work begun on the former Episcopalian Church which was moved to the Main Street three years ago. The city is administrating, on behalf of LVCC, a $268,000 Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board grant to complete the project. Previously the city rejected bids when they came in considerably more costly than the grant funding allowed. Tower City Clerk-Treasurer explained that the organization then reviewed and revised the project scope in an effort to reduce costs. Those efforts paid off with a low bid from TNT Aggregates, LLC, Grand Rapids, MN coming close enough to the grant amount to move the project forward. “The Cultural Center reports it has secured its own additional funding to cover the balance of the bid,” Keith said.

The short-handed city council gave the project its unanimous support and accepted the bid from TNT Aggregates, LLC, prompting several Lake Vermilion Cultural Center representatives to exit the meeting.

Dave Rose owns ten acres stretched along both sides of the East Two River near where it enters Lake Vermilion and has been wrestling with Tower Planning and Zoning for nearly three years seeking approval to build a campground there. When Rose first submitted his Environmental Assessment Worksheet in August 2016 the city required a $7,500 deposit to have it, and other planning work on the project reviewed by SEH engineers. Now that the environmental paperwork has been completed Rose is seeking to have the balance of his retainer returned. SEH submitted that it has charged $4,336.25 leaving nearly $3,164 on Account. Rose was on hand at the city council making the request and claiming that it was unfair for the city to charge him anything at all. “There has never been  a history of property owners paying to have city engineers review their projects,” Rose maintained as he cited an example where a developer was being given free property and loans to develop that property. “I just want to be treated fairly,” Rose said.

“I don’t even know where to quantify my time,” Clerk Keith told the city council. The clerk maintained that she had spent additional, personal time, on the project. However the council appeared ready to approve returning Rose’s balance to him, yet when Alderman Lance Dougherty moved to do exactly that, Rose changed his mind and now asked that the city retain the amount on account. He said that although he was not immediately ready to continue to pursue development on his property one mayoral candidate told him that the city would be more receptive to development when the new city council is seated in January and that, perhaps, he would consider his development under those conditions. No action was taken by the city council.

The city council approved raising Tower Ambulance Service rollout fees by $100 and increased the loaded mileage rate to $18.00. Dougherty provided the lone dissenting vote and the motion passed 2-1.

In other action, the Tower City Council:

• Accepted Randy Johnson into the casual labor pool

• Approved a change order adding $5,260.65 to the costs to include the purchase of a windcone. Minnesota Department of Transportation no longer provides windcones for their airports.

• Approved paying $74,575 and $37,145 owed to Lenci Enterprises, Inc. for construction and preliminary site work on the Lamppa Manufacturing facility currently under construction in Tower

• Reviewed timelines which will be included in a new development agreement under negotiation between Tower Vision2025 and the city

• Counter offered $23,000, against the proposed $23,900 Walker Giroux and Hahne offered, to complete the 2018 city audit.