Alexandria to receive new COVID grant

More than $2.24 million was distributed to Minnesota cities through the COVID Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act.

Alexandria will be getting $40,508 from a federal grant through the COVID Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act .

It will be used for state-aid road projects in the city.

More than $2.24 million was distributed to Minnesota cities through the act. The amount was based on the city’s 2021 total municipal state aid allocation.

The money will be available after July 1.

Following are other items from the Alexandria City Council's May 10 meeting not covered in other council stories.


Energy savings agreement approved

The council approved a guaranteed energy savings agreement with Apex Facility Solutions to install dehumidification unit controls at the Runestone Community Center.

Apex guaranteed to save the city $400 in annual energy costs and a one-time operation and maintenance savings of $10,000. In addition, there will be benefits associated with better indoor airflow through the facility, according to Apex.

There is no cost to the city for the first year of measurement and verification of the savings. Beginning with the second year, the city has the option of paying for measurement and verification. The cost would be $2,500 and increase by 3.2% annually if continued.

The cost of the project is $20,290. A total of $10,145 of the project is funded by a Mighty Ducks grant and the rest will come out of the RCC’s building repair and replacement budget.

Final Bellanca building bid rejected

The final bid on a six-phase project to renovate the former Bellanca building at the Alexandria Airport was rejected.

The last phase of the project was for miscellaneous work – exterior painting of the concrete walls, re-siding the metal siding, and bathroom renovations. The bids, however, came in at about $27,000, exceeding the $7,616 that was left in the $362,000 budget.

The $7,616 will be divided equally between the city and Minnesota Department of Transportation, which were sharing the overall cost of the project. The council decided that the city’s amount, $3,808, will be used as a contingency for any additional costs that may pop up from the work that’s already underway.

The Bellanca building is getting a major makeover. The leaky roof is being repaired, an office area is being demolished, hazardous materials are being removed, and plumbing and electrical upgrades are in the works.


The goal of the renovation is to fix the building up in the next few years so it can be rented out to tenants.

Bike safety fund closed

The council decided to close out a special revenue fund for crime prevention and bike safety.

The fund was created about 14 years ago with money from the police department and its last expenditure occurred in 2011.

Police Chief Scott Kent agreed it made sense to close the fund because expenses related to crime prevention and bike safety are handled through the police department’s operating accounts in the general fund.

The balance in the fund, $2,798, will be transferred to the general fund.

City may use bonds for fire truck vehicles

The council approved a resolution that would give the city the option to use up to $1.9 million in bond proceeds to pay for the purchase of a $1.24 million aerial fire truck and a new rescue truck for the fire department.

The aerial truck is expected to be delivered this fall. The council authorized Fire Chief Jeff Karrow to get quotes for the new rescue truck this past March. It’s expected to cost between $575,000 and $650,000.

The resolution doesn’t commit the city to issue bonds. City staff is studying other finance options and will make a recommendation next month.


Engineer gives updates on street work

City Engineer Tim Schoonhoven provided updates on street projects:

  • The trail connection at Maple Street is complete. The contractor is working on sidewalk installation on 8th Avenue. Remaining work includes the bituminous wear course on 8th Avenue, paving on Woodland Park Drive and several areas of turf establishment.

  • Pipe installation has started on L’Homme Dieu Drive. South Le Homme Dieu Drive will be closed this week for storm sewer installation. The project is scheduled to be complete by the end of May.

  • Work on the 2021 local street improvements continues. Water service work has started on 14th Avenue. Removals on 14th Avenue will start next week. The milling and paving of the rest of the streets will start the week of May 24. The project will be complete by the first week in July.

  • The Highway 29 South sidewalk extension project is now in the review process by the Minnesota Department of Transportation. Construction is planned in late summer or early fall.

Maintenance work approved at ballpark

Jake Munsch, a high school basketball coach and summer program coach, will be prepping Knute Nelson Ballpark this summer.

The council agreed to pay him $10,800, which is $200 more than the city paid for the ballpark's maintenance in 2019. (No contract was approved last year because of the pandemic.)

The work includes chalking of all lines, mowing of the field two to three times a week or as needed, and picking up all litter after games, including night games, weekend games and tournaments.

So far, there are about 70 scheduled games for 2021.

The contract runs from May 15 to Sept. 30.

For the past several years, Scott Giroux has performed the duties but decided not to do it this year.

A new way of controlling vehicle costs

The council approved a master lease equity agreement with Enterprise Fleet Management for vehicles purchased by the city.


The new fleet management program is an effort to better control costs and efficiency.

The city is projected to save $162,509 under the Enterprise plan. The savings would begin after the city replaces 32 vehicles over the next five years. The plan calls to replace 18 vehicles this year, six in 2022, four in 2023, three in 2024 and one in 2025.

At a past meeting, City Administrator Marty Schultz told the council that the underfunding of equipment funds began with the fiscal crisis of 2008 and created a situation where many of the vehicles were used beyond a useful age.

Schultz said raising the property tax to pay for the vehicles would place too much of a burden on taxpayers.

The new program will enhance safety, improve resale of vehicles and lead to lower maintenance costs, Schultz said. Vehicles will be traded out when they reach their maximum resale value, four to seven years.

Street vacation approved

The council gave final approval to Duininck Concrete's request to vacate a portion of an unbuilt public street known as Fifth Avenue East, west of Oak Street and east of the Soo Line/Canadian Pacific rail line.

The site has been used for material storage by a former owner, Alex Concrete, for decades. Vacating the street will clear any title concerns.

Donation from Eagles Club accepted

The council accepted a donation of $636 from the District Fraternal Order of Eagles to support public safety.


The money will be used for the Community Night Out event in August.

Al Edenloff is the editor of the twice-weekly Echo Press. He started his journalism career when he was in 10th grade, writing football and basketball stories for the Parkers Prairie Independent.
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