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Backus: Council gathering quotes for city hall renovation

Cost saving measures are being explored.

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The Backus City Council met Monday, March 1, in the Cass County Land Building meeting room in Backus as council members discussed what quotes were needed to get repairs going at Backus City Hall, which experienced a fire Tuesday, Feb. 2.

The fire was limited in scope; however, ceiling, drywall and carpet had to be removed to check for hot spots and cleanup. Backus Fire Department members returned the next day to do repairs for approximately 15 hours, including installing replacement trusses.

The city hall portion of the building still smells strongly of smoke, which needs to be resolved before and during renovation efforts.

The council is prioritizing work that must be completed first, including cleaning to remove as much smoke smell as possible. The city received a $2,000 quote for cleanup from Service Master; however, the council discussed possible ways to save funds.

Fire Chief Jason Smith asked what was left to clean now that the carpet and much of the ceiling had been removed. He offered to gather assistance from Backus firefighters to clean up if insurance would allow it, and if they can find out what needs to be cleaned and what type of cleaning chemicals are required.

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The council agreed to look into the option.

The council has already gathered some quotes; however, some quotes are still needed for drywall, flooring, ceiling repairs, floors, insulation and heat sensors.

The city also received a quote for replacing furniture both in the clerk's office and in the city hall meeting room. For the time being, council members approved furniture for the office and six chairs for the council members.

In other business Monday, the council:

  • Approved a 2021-2022 Ponto Lake fire contract.
  • Tabled a discussion on firefighter relief funds. The fire department relief funds have made significant returns on investment with the unallocated funds, which the department is required to maintain in case of emergency, reaching $95,000. The state has rules against growing these unallocated funds too large, so the department asked the city to look into the option of increasing retirement plans by $200.
  • Received a letter from Stonemark Land Surveying confirming that business will survey Bayside Resort after the snow melts.
  • Will consult with Gammello and Pearson attorney Daniel Hawley regarding tree removal on a property adjacent to the airport.

Travis Grimler may be reached at 218-855-5853 or travis.grimler@pineandlakes.com. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Travis.

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