by John McLoone With economic uncertainly because of the COVID-19 hopefully not being as much of a concern, the City of Hastings will move forward with an ambitious capital improvement project this …
by John McLoone
With economic uncertainly because of the COVID-19 hopefully not being as much of a concern, the City of Hastings will move forward with an ambitious capital improvement project this year.
“Thankfully on many fronts, the economy is looking much better than it did before when we were developing the budget,” City Administrator Dan Wietecha told the city council at a recent meeting.
He said revenue has been stable, despite fears to the contrary.
“Property tax payments were on target,” he said, of last year’s bills.
The council gave the go-ahead for a plan of using half of the city’s $1.5 million set aside in the budget for projects.
“Staff is comfortable saying ‘Let’s not wait. Let’s not tie our hands,’” said Wietecha.
Projects on the list include planning for the city hall dome project, which the State of Minnesota earmarked $2 million toward in its bonding legislation.
The city also has to identify projects eligible for funding through the American Rescue Plan.
“Whether it might be eligible, it could impact some of the projects on the priority list,” said Wietecha.
Staff recommended projects “with particular attention to deferred maintenance items,” a member from Wietecha to the council stated.
Recommended projects will total $1,075,202, with $750,202 coming from Local Government Aid and the city general fund, and a total of $325,000 from other sources. Projects recommended to be undertaken include:
•Building Safety Vehicles, $17,000. Two pickup trucks from 2005-06 will be replaced by buying out leases of two Police Department vehicles that were used “for administrative purposes.”
•Pine Street lane Modification.
“The City has received several complaints about the alignment of approach lanes of Pine Street at Highway 55 and the lack of a turn lane for southbound Pine Street traffic to turn right onto westbound Highway 55. A study was conducted in 2019, and the Operations Committee endorsed making changes in a future budget request,” Wietecha’s memo states.
Replacing the fire and security alarm panel at city hall and the police station for $25,000 each.
•Elevator overhauls at city hall and the police state at $50,000 each.
“If it were to break down, it is estimated for six months downtime before getting it repaired,” Wietecha wrote.
•$26,432 for a fire equipment decontamination washer.
•$9,970 for a Fire Officer Development Program.
•$30,000 for four Fire Thermal Imaging Cameras.
•$2,500 for Geographic Information Software to help the city Economic Development Coordinator and City Forester.
•$30,000 for a consultant to look at the city’s accounting software.
“The city’s accounting software is outdated and not user-friendly. Replacing and upgrading the system is a priority of the management team. This had been proposed to study and paper in 2020 but was held over when we tightened spending during the pandemic,” Wietecha’s memo states. “Pending US Treasury guidance, this expense might later be eligible for reimbursement through the American Rescue Plan funds.”
•$99,000 for a Fire Station Alerting System, which automates alerting first responders.
•Spending $51,300 for engineering upgrades at lake Isabel Park and $225,000 for the lake Isabel Park Rehabilitation, with $100,000 coming from ward one park funds. There is also $25,000 from a nearby homeowners’ association, which would be combined with a DNR Outdoor Recreation grant to cover the project cost of $500,000.
“The DNR Grant decision is expected in June. If the grant is not awarded, the city could decide to cover the shortfall or phase the rehabilitation project,” said Wietecha.
That project is proposed for September to November of this year.
•$2,000 for tennis court crack repair at the Roadside Tennis Courts.
•Trail pavement repairs at $153,000.
•$35,000 for decorative concrete/paver sealing. The pavers and tinted concrete at the Riverfront Renaissance and bridge projects are to be resealed very four years.
•225,000 to replace one of the city street sweepers.