Port Authority approves New York Ave project

Breckenridge city offices remain closed, and meetings continue to be held via teleconference.

Breckenridge Port Authority voted unanimously to approve the updated plan and cost of the New York Avenue extension project at its remote meeting held Wednesday, May 13.

Director of Public Services Neil Crocker provided the update and cost about the project.

“This is going to be a gravel road with ditches. There’s not going to be a storm drain, but it will have sewer that will extend down the center of the road and then water will be on the north side. The utility plans will stub both sewer and water underneath, through the road. there will be four light posts placed and transformers set up there for expansion. It’s $400,000 bill is what it comes to,” Crocker said.

The cost is broken down to approximately $149,000 base bid, $120,000 in water costs, $95,000 in sewer costs and $40,000 in electrical costs, bringing the probable cost to $400,000.

City Administrator Renae Smith added that with the land cost at $214,000 and other expenditures such as contingencies, engineers and attorney fees will bring the total to approximately $650,000-$700,000.

“It’s important for the Port Authority to realize and remember that we are also planning to asses some of these costs that we are able to. Another thing we are doing is applying for grants. I am in the process of applying for a grant but it will only cover a portion of those costs. For the short term we will plan to cash flow until some of these costs are more firmed up and at that point, we will probably proceed with a bond,” Smith said.

The total costs and bids for the New York Avenue extension project will go to Breckenridge City Council for approval at their meeting scheduled Monday, May 18.

The road itself was more expensive than what was anticipated. The unforeseen cost was due to the unstable dirt underneath the topsoil and so a more stable dirt is being brought in which was approximately $30,000-$40,000 in an additional cost, Crocker explained. All other expenses were expected.

“We need this for the industrial expansion. Looking at the bigger picture, and no doubt it’s a big price, but it’s a necessary evil if we are going to supporting this expansion,” board member Janel Fredericksen said.

With a motion made by Fredericksen and a second by board member Rick Busko, the board voted unanimously to approve the project and recommend it to City Council.

Scott Nicholson was curious if the city planned on making a stance about Gov. Tim Walz’s order that has many Minnesota businesses closed.

“I don’t know how Gov. Walz thinks this is sustainable, especially for our small businesses. I don’t think it’s fair that Breckenridge, Minnesota, be treated the same as Minneapolis, where our population density and so forth are completely different. I think that as an economic development group, we need to be aware of what our governor is doing and how it is negatively impacting our businesses in our region,” Nicholson said.

Mayor Russ Wilson said that City Council will be addressing those concerns during Monday’s council meeting with a possible resolution or a direct letter to the governor. The letter would state that the order is hurting the city’s businesses.

These comments by Nicholson and Wilson were made prior to Walz’s Wednesday evening address where he announced he will let the stay-at-home executive order expire, loosening restrictions on some businesses.

The next Port Authority meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, May 27 via remote teleconference.

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