Pine River: City buys Cass County property
City missed in first round of dust control
Pine River recently purchased a Cass County property with a building north of the Cass County Fairgrounds for a bid of $135,000. The property will give the city access to more necessary storage space.
Public Works Director Mike Hansen said at the Tuesday, July 13, regular city council meeting that the city received a favorable price for the property; however, construction is needed to adapt the building on the property for city use. That includes the construction of an office and bathroom.
Hansen requested council permission to seek a loan from Minnesota Rural Waters Association for $317,000. The loan would reimburse the city for the property purchase price, which initially came from the capital improvements fund. The additional amount would be used for construction costs.
Hansen said the city's current property will continue to be used, but they will be able to turn off most of the heat to the building there and use much of it as cold storage.
An attempt to ride on Cass County's price for dust control backfired on the city of Pine River. Hansen explained that the city often signs up to be included on a dust control schedule for the company the county contracts.
Doing so can save the city approximately half the price it would be charged if it went into a contract alone. This practice is common among other small Cass County cities and townships, but somehow the city of Pine River was missed with Edwards Oil, the contracted company.
Hansen said the city was missed in spite of efforts he made earlier in the season to ensure the city was included. He called once earlier in the summer following complaints by residents, only to be told that the city was about two-thirds down the list. Hansen said he reached out again when he noticed roads outside the city had been given dust control treatment, only to find out that the city had been skipped by mistake.
With a three to four month wait before the city could possibly receive dust control from the same company at the lower price, Hansen said he is contemplating contracting with Knife River. The price would be approximately double, around $6,500. Hansen said the additional cost would be problematic for his budget.
In addition, the calcium chloride that was applied to other county roads has been minimally effective because of the lack of rain. Because of the continued drought, the application of dust control might not be particularly effective this year.
After hearing complaints from several residents at the meeting, Hansen said it might be worth it for the city to consider paving College Street and Oxford Avenue. He said with an estimated cost of $25,000-$30,000, the project might ultimately be less expensive than continued application of dust control.
In other business July 13, the council:
- Set a budget workshop for 5 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 26, with an additional workshop if needed at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 14.
- Approved a request by Police Chief Paul Sand to trade in a 2012 Ford for $15,000 while prices are up.
- Approved a street closure for the Wednesday, July 21, Riverview Block Party.
- Scheduled a public hearing for 5:45 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 10, regarding a request from Daniel Olson to rezone his newly purchased property from residential to commercial. Olson would like to use the property as storage for rolloff dumpsters.
Travis Grimler is a staff writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal weekly newspaper in Pequot Lakes/Pine River. He may be reached at 218-855-5853 or firstname.lastname@example.org.