10/11/2012 9:22:00 AM Skatepark bid awarded
Friction among council in naming fire chief
This graphic is from a plan set depicting the Goodview Park skatepark project. Goodview Park is south of Wyoming Trail, off 262nd Street and Goodview Ave. The Wyoming Council awarded a construction bid last week for the concrete formed park, featuring steel edging for grinding and elevated pipe, stairs at various locations. The skatepark is about 5,400 square feet in size. A spokesperson for W. Gohman Company told the Press he’d like to get started on the site prep work this fall; but the shop drawings are still being finalized. He’ll have what he needs to get started in a couple weeks, but starting any outdoors work depends on the weather at this time of the year. * Design by Spohn Ranch Skate Parks of California.
by DENISE MARTIN
The Wyoming City Council got to take a first-time-ever action last week, appointing a chief for the fire department. The department has been headed-up for decades by Dennis Berry, and only recently did council agree that his successor’s appointment would be up to the council. It didn’t quite work that way, though. Council ended up on a 3-2 vote appointing J.J. Hastings-- the staff’s recommendation. Council members interviewed the only two interested parties-- Hastings and Dan Gallagher-- at the Wyoming library community room, prior to convening the regular council session. There had been four applicants, but two had withdrawn. Council member Joe Zerwas first made a motion to offer the fire chief position to Gallagher, seconded by Linda Nanko-Yeager and then discussion ensued. The motion went down 2-3. Council member Steve Zerwas stated council should defer to the choice of Police Chief and Public Safety Director Paul Hoppe. He said, Hoppe “will be supervising” the new fire chief, just like any department head supervises staff, and Steve Zerwas argued the department head should get to choose. Nanko-Yeager responded, wondering why the council had (in a work session Sept. 18) agreed to choose who succeeds Berry at the end of this year.
Why did council even bother to do interviews, she questioned. “We should just let the city administrator and the Public Safety Director run the city,” she said. “I thought we decided this would be a council (decision).” Joe Zerwas noted Gallagher is second in command currently and has over 20 years with the fire department. But, Mayor Eric Peterson said he agreed with Steve Zerwas. “Nothing against Dan,” the mayor stated,” but he added that Hoppe has to be able “to work with” the future chief and council should defer to Hoppe’s selection. Roger Elmore made the motion for Hastings and it passed 3-2. Nanko-Yeager was also on the opposing side on a vote awarding a contract to a skatepark builder. She said she wouldn’t award the project until she’d seen the skatepark design and no layout or details were provided. She inquired about costs so far and was advised the city is into this for about $154,000 including design costs. The council had approved a maximum of $150,000 and she asked where the overage would be coming from. Council member Elmore said the parks committee which he is city liaison to, believes “...we have appropriate funds” and the group had reviewed the design and supported it. There have been private donations coming in in addition to the city parks fund monies.
(Parks fund consists of developer-paid fees.) On a 4-1 vote council gave the project to W. Gohman Construction Company at $139,872. The only other bid was from Custom Builders for $181,000. City Engineer Mark Erichson reported that the highway #61 rebuild and improvements roadwork south of downtown are complete. Erichson said the “hammerhead” configuration for Fenwick, which was turned into a dead end as part of the access elimination work, will be done as part of the Fallbrook Avenue project because of the lateness of the construction season and time-consuming process for MnDOT to oversee Fenwick. The November council meeting was re-scheduled so as not to conflict with election day. The council will meet Thursday, November 8. IN public comment, residents on Forli Avenue brought a complaint about rodents and unmowed lawn/debris at a neighboring property. The city building and zoning supervisor told council he is working on the issue. About Polaris The council set a public hearing date for considering a Polaris application to get financial aid from the Minnesota Investment Fund. Council will be asked to support the application, and the hearing is November 8 at 7 p.m. Polaris is at odds with the city on water and sewer access charges (WAC and SAC) the city notified the company it is assessing on the Polaris expansion.
Council spent considerable time in work session before last week’s regular meeting reviewing the Polaris alternative offer on WAC and SAC fees. Polaris has proposed paying $215,354 based on its water and wastewater use/generation and its “unit” estimates. Wyoming’s WAC and SAC fees call for $301,524. Public Works Supervisor Jason Windingstad reminded council in work session that the city relies on these availability (hook-up) fees to fund the entire system-- water towers, sewer and waterlines, infrastructure, etc. He said the policy has been applied equally to all city projects coming onto the system (ie: expansion at Fairview) and asked that council not deviate from policy. City Attorney Mark Vierling advised the council that Polaris would “very much like to make this an issue about Polaris but the council should keep this as a city issue.” Staff was directed to keep working with Polaris under the assumption the city policy on these fees will be the rule. Polaris broke ground last week on the expansion of its R & D facility.