BARAGA - The Baraga Village Council worked through seven resolutions related to the village's multimillion dollar water project at Tuesday's monthly meeting.
Jim Koskiniemi from U.P. Engineers and Architects provided recommendations for two contracts to begin construction work on the water project, which includes a new water distribution and intake system and upgrades to the Baraga Water Plant. Trustees unanimously voted to accept Koskiniemi's recommendations.
If all goes as planned, the project, which has been in the works for three years, and received funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development program last year, will finally enter the construction phase around the end of July.
Stephen Anderson/Daily Mining Gazette
From left, Baraga Village Council members Nick Lozier, Sandra Racette and Wendell Dompier discuss issues at the council’s regular meeting Tuesday evening.
The first contract for the water distribution system was awarded to MD Contracting for $2,089,697. The second was awarded to McMillan-Pitts Construction for $1,440,700.
"We conducted a thorough bid analysis on both contracts," Koskiniemi said. "Both contractors sent packets with references, examples of similar projects and proof of funding and staff levels. Based on that, I'm comfortable recommending both contracts."
Before the two contract resolutions were voted on, the council passed three other resolutions that would allow for the contracts to be awarded. The first was a $2,754,000 loan resolution through rural development. The second was a bond resolution that gave the village the ability to access those funds. The third allowed for the village to complete a $1,650,511 first payment to rural development.
The sixth water project resolution approved a $30,071 engineering amendment that would add 30 days to the second contract based on concerns expressed by several bidders.
The seventh and final water project resolution approved $4,800 for a Western Upper Peninsula Planning and Development Region representative to conduct payroll and benefits evaluations and monthly certifications as required for payroll processing by the Davis-Bacon Act.
According to Koskiniemi, all resolutions and contingency plans are included in the budget.
In addition to the water project progress, the council held a public hearing for a transfer of the village's energy optimization system to a statewide program called Efficiency United.
"The reason we're looking at this is because it would make available the system accessible to everyone else in the state and would help with expensive advertising," Village Manager Roy Kemppainen said. "It doesn't lock out any of our customers from benefits available to everyone else, and in fact probably enhances them."
The council also voted to keep the 2011 millage rates the same as 2010 rates (10.156 mills), even though taxable values went down.
"The money is less than we anticipated for budgeting purposes, but other revenues such as the census increase of about 800 people should help us make up for the difference," Kemppainen said.
"We're just going to have to tighten our belt a little bit," Trustee Paul Mayo said.
In other business, the council:
voted to approve Kemppainen and Council President Wendell Dompier to sign a $109,100 contract with the Michigan Department of Transportation for construction improvements to Main Street.
approved Ordinance No. 230, which adds a $10 fee to accompany delinquent utility tags.
heard from Kemppainen that Gov. Rick Snyder is looking for more collaboration among local governments. Kemppainen talked with L'Anse Village Manager Bob LaFave to discuss options.
approved $500 for a Powwow advertisement.
held a closed session to discuss a police union contract.