September 13, 2012 | Vol. 39, No. 37

Council prioritizes capital improvements projects

Petersburg Police Station and North Harbor projects will stay at the top of the City Council’s list for state funding.

During a work session of the Petersburg City Council Monday afternoon, council members discussed which projects they would like to see at the top of the capital improvement projects list.

Petersburg City Manager Stephen Giesbrecht and City department heads provided a list of projects in order of priority for the council to debate.

Council member Don Koenigs was not in attendance at Monday’s work session but made sure his preferences would be made part of the proceedings.

“Councilor Koenigs is concerned about the liability facing the City with the condition of the police station,” Petersburg Mayor Al Dwyer relayed. “He has listed the police station as number one on his list and I agree with him. I think it is dangerous and we have to do something about this quick.”

Not all council members were in agreement with the order in which these projects were placed on the list.

“I would like to see the North Harbor remain as number one and the police station as number two,” Council member Mark Jensen said. “And my reasoning is the position that they are in. They are pretty far into the project and the dredging process will begin next August. This is an ongoing project and we need to see it completed.”

Jensen explained that the City has received $500,000 from the state to start the planning for the police station.

“We’ve picked the site and we are forming a committee to start the design process, but we don’t even know what it’s going to cost, we have a firm figure on the Harbor,” he stated.

Council member Nancy Strand spoke in agreement with Koenigs and Dwyer. “The police station should be number one because the Harbor is an on-going project,” she stated. “It has already gone over budget and now we need more funding.”

There are many projects to choose from to make the top portion of the City’s wish list and the Council will discuss all of them again at the regular City Council meeting Monday, Sept. 17.

A public hearing will be called in order for anyone in the community to share their views on this matter.

The Council decided on 18 projects to include in the City’s top 20. “We usually prioritize the top 20 and the remainder of the list will be added after that,” Petersburg City Clerk Kathy O’Rear said.

The 18 projects that were listed at the work session include the North Harbor project, the police station, force main replacement, Haugen Drive, elementary school exterior, long term care facility remodel, Rasmus Enge Bridge, community gym remodel, Scow Bay wash station, Clausen Museum, school boiler, cemetery columbarium, municipal building rehab, harbor port and rate study, recycling equipment, Reid property acquisition (in case it fails due to vote), C-Arm and medical surgical tables for the hospital.

There are many other projects yet to be discussed.

“I think the whole list should go to the legislature through our lobbyist,” Jensen said. “But we need to prioritize. Two years ago the state funded a lot of fire halls and last year it was harbors, so we need to keep everything on this list.”

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