BLUE EARTH - Blue Earth City Council accepted a bid Monday for a parcel of land south of Subway, but not without controversy.
The council accepted Lee Smith's bid of $2,780 for the 5.74 acres. It has an assessed value of $13,200.
The lot has been up for sale before. In June, the council rejected a bid of $51 from Doug Garlick, and $550 from G&S Drainage, which turned in its bid after the deadline.
In July, Councilman Rick Scholtes objected to the way the vote was handled, saying he did not believe it was fair that the bids were rejected because one was late. However, other council members said the motion not to accept the bids was made because they were too low.
City Attorney David Frundt said the council reserves the right to reject the bids and doesn't have to give a reason.
In the current round of bidding, there were three: Smith's of $2,780, G&S Drainage's $2,500, and Doug Garlick's of $1,011, which came in after the second deadline.
"I think the bids are too low," said Scholtes, adding that one person wasn't notified he had to re-bid.
"Do you want to set a minimum dollar amount?" asked Councilman John Gartzke.
Scholtes said he wanted to see a minimum bid of $3,500.
"The prices are low, but we need to get this done," said Councilman Glenn Gaylord, adding the city is not using the land and that is costing money.
A motion was made to accept Smith's bid and it was accepted on a 5-2 vote, with Scholtes and Russ Erichsrud dissenting.
Turning to another matter, the council rejected a request for a deadline extension on renovations at the airport. Ulland Bros. had asked for an extension on a deadline coming later this week, wanting to push it back to September.
"The costs just keep expanding," Bailey said.
Bolton & Menk, Inc., the engineering firm that advises the city, had suggested three options: invoke the penalties, negotiate with the contractor, or grant the extension and pay the difference out of the city's funds, Bailey said. The penalty fines would be $500 a day, Bailey added.
Some council members pointed out that it certainly hasn't been too wet to work.
"They're claiming they had issues to meet the subgrade because it was too dry, and had issues with the aggregate," said Wes Brown, city engineer.
"What's the point of setting a due date if we don't stick to it?" asked Gaylord.
The council voted not to extend the deadline, with Gartzke dissenting.
In other business, the council:
o Approved the purchase of a sewer vacuum truck for $28,000, contingent on the truck passing inspection.
o Listened to Brown explain the storm sewer report and options for dealing with flooding problems in the North Circle Drive/Moore Street/Smith Street area. No action was taken.
o Met in closed session for about 45 minutes to discuss Bailey's job review.