Alexandria City Council considers electrical upgrades at RCCKids, ice skates and electrical cords are not a very safe combination.
By: Al Edenloff, Alexandria Echo Press
Kids, ice skates and electrical cords are not a very safe combination.
That’s why the Alexandria City Council voted 5-0 Monday night to call for quotes to make electrical upgrades in all the arenas at the Runestone Community Center (RCC).
The RCC hasn’t had a major electrical upgrade since it was built back in 1977, Assistant City Administrator Marty Schultz told the council.
A safety inspection that the city ordered a few months ago showed several safety problems at the RCC that should be taken care of right away, Schultz said.
RCC staff has identified a list of 19 work items that will be used for getting quotes from contractors.
The two biggest items are adding more electrical outlets to eliminate the use of extension cords, and upgrading the emergency lighting systems.
The city plans to pay for the electrical work by dipping into its capital improvement fund. It had a fund balance of $547,465 earlier this year and has since grown to more than $1.72 million because two projects were delayed.
The Douglas County Board has decided to hold off installing signal lights at the intersection of County Roads 82 and 45 near the YMCA until 2013 or 2014. The city’s share in that project is $55,000, enough to cover one of the four “legs” in the intersection.
The city also decided to hold off overlaying Rosewood Lane, a $346,615 undertaking, because of developments that are taking place in that area.
Council member Virgil Batesole said the city shouldn’t be using money budgeted for projects that were delayed since the city will still have to pay for them down the road.
Council member Elroy Frank said that the study showed the RCC work needed to be done and the city has enough money in the capital improvement fund to pay for it. He said the city could be violating safety standards and faces the risk of a lawsuit.
The RCC, Frank said, needs the upgrade to keep up with the times. “It’s time to make some changes,” he said.
Batesole said he didn’t have a problem asking for quotes if the money came from reserve funds.
Schultz explained that the capital improvement fund’s balance will not affect the bottom line of the 2012 budget.
In other action, the council:
--Was informed that the Alexandria Housing and Redevelopment Authority was awarded a Small Cities Development Grant through the state for $471,968. The money will be used for energy efficiency repair projects on owner-occupied housing units and commercial buildings in the city. Mayor Dan Ness noted that Alexandria was one of only 31 cities in the state to receive the funding.
--Approved grant agreements with the state that will pay for a mill and overlay project on a runway at the Alexandria Airport. The city won’t have to pay anything. Half of the $717,894 project will be funded through traditional state airport funds and the other half will be covered through state-issued general obligation bonds.
--Was informed that CenterPoint Energy awarded the city a community partnership grant of $1,875 that was presented to the Alexandria Fire Department. The money will be used for a positive pressure fan for firefighting and a smoke machine for training purposes.
--Gave final approval to an ordinance that allows the Alexandria Police Department to conduct criminal history background checks on job applicants who have been selected for interviews. The ordinance will bring the city’s procedures in line with state law, said City Attorney Tom Jacobson. The checks are required when requested by the city administrator or when required by law.
--Approved the following licenses: massage licenses for Jamie Hoseck and Emily Louwagie, employees with Relax and Unwind Therapeutic Massage and Spa at 1114 Broadway; fireworks license to Tools and More to sell fireworks inside at 1111 Highway 29 North; taxi license for Lakes Area Limo located at 104 Birch Avenue; and a peddler’s license to Herzog Country Fresh of Fergus Falls to sell produce at 217 North Nokomis Street and 221 3rd Avenue.
--Approved an off-site charitable gambling license for The West Central Food and Beverage Association of Carlos to sell raffle tickets for a September 30 event at Broadway Ballroom.