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Montevideo American-News - Montevideo, MN
  • Time, higher costs muddy levee project waters

  • As time passes and costs increase, there is a growing likelihood the city of Montevideo will find itself short of money to complete the third phase of the levee project.


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  • As time passes and costs increase, there is a growing likelihood the city of Montevideo will find itself short of money to complete the third phase of the levee project.
    Monday night at the city council meeting city manager Steve Jones presented a financial update for council members that indicated the city may be short approximately $100,000 for Phase 2 of the project, which consists mainly of raising Highway 212 from near Country Kitchen to Flinn’s Salvage.
    The city’s original estimated cost for the levee project was $944,000. That grew to $1.6 million last year. The city has put aside $1.73 million for levee work, with estimated costs running about $1.68 million so far.
    Although the second part of Phase 2 has been let, it has not been awarded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps is now saying it may cost an additional $150,000 to award Phase 2.
    The Corps will not pay for any additional work, nor will the state  of Minnesota at this point, said Jones. Options include negotiating with the contractor to reduce costs, or rebidding the second part of Phase 2 altogether.
    Jones thinks there is a possibility more money could be gotten from the state via the DNR using flood mitigation funds allocated last year.
    “I think we have a shot for more money from the state,” said Jones. The fact that the project is ready to go helps, he noted.
    But while he was cautiously confident that Phase 2 would be completed this year, Jones was less so about Phase 3, which involves rebuilding the 1969 levee from behind Trailways Cafe around to where the levee intersects with Highway 212 by the city garage.
    Phase 3 is estimated to cost $2.5 million to $3 million, which has not been federally funded at this time, although the state has put money aside. The city has gone to U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, and to U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson to sponsor amendments to federal legislation to allow the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to spend more than $7 million on the project as a whole, and asking for a separate $3 million appropriation.
    “Our chances are not great on either bill,” noted Jones, pointing out the city tried last year and failed.
    At the state level, the city is also requesting $3 million in the bonding bill, but it is unlikely a bonding bill will be approved this year.
    Other options mentioned by Jones include delaying Phase 3 or holding a local election to ask voters to consider funding Phase 3.
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