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Nisswa to seek bids to get firmer costs to build public restrooms/chamber office

The Nisswa City Council on Wednesday, Feb. 20, agreed to seek bids to build a public restroom/welcome center building on Main Street.

This action doesn’t mean the council will build the facility; council members want firm cost estimates to decide whether to go ahead with that project.

The council originally set out to build a new public restroom facility at the site of the current building on Main Street with plans to finance an estimated $250,000-$260,000 project, as well as improvements at Nisswa City Park and the community center, with a 10- or 15-year, $500,000 abatement bond.

The chamber then asked the council to include office space in the public restroom building so the chamber could move back downtown from Nisswa Square.

The council will decide whether to include the restrooms and chamber building after it receives bids from the contractors. Such a decision is expected in early to mid-April.

The city has budgeted $57,000 toward a bond payment in 2013, and plans to budget yearly to pay the abatement bond.

That amount is based on an estimate prepared by the city’s financial adviser last August during budget meetings. The actual amount will be determined once the bonds are sold; $57,000 was based on the $500,000 issuance.

Later, the financial adviser estimated that if the bond issuance was increased to $700,000 to include the chamber space, the annual payment would increase to an estimated $63,000 per year. That amount wouldn’t be due in 2014, however.

Final numbers will be determined with the bonds are sold and the interest rate is locked in.

The proposed 2,514-square-foot public restroom/chamber building would include public restrooms, family restroom, mechanical room, atrium, welcome center, chamber offices and conference room.

Public safety

The council adopted an ordinance amendment to add First Responder duties to the Nisswa Fire Department.

This is a result of the former Nisswa-Lake Shore First Responders disbanding.

Fire Chief Richard Geike estimated an additional $20,000 would be needed for the fire department budget to take over the First Responder calls.

The former First Responder group transferred $17,418.75 to the fire department, which has 24 firefighters, all of whom are First Responders.

Geike said a meeting with those who contract with the Nisswa Fire Department showed all were on board with the department taking on First Responder duties.

In January, firefighters had 19 calls, including 10 medicals and three structure fires, one each in Nisswa, Pequot Lakes and Brainerd.

Police in January had 146 calls for service. Activity included 13 agency assists, 23 traffic citations, 55 traffic warnings, two arrests, eight medicals and five alarms.