The Sleepy Eye City Council held a special meeting at noon on Friday, Oct. 14 to consider and approve bids for the first phase of work on the event center.

The Sleepy Eye City Council held a special meeting at noon on Friday, Oct. 14 to consider and approve bids for the first phase of work on the event center. This first bid packet included site earth work, asphalt paving, site concrete and building concrete work, for the footings and foundation.

The architect’s estimate for this packet came to $506,875. The bids received totaled $585,930, or $79,055 over the estimate. City Manager Mark Kober explained to the council that the estimate did not include storm water work (bid at $63,000) and a concrete sidewalk on 12th Avenue (at $9,000) that were included in the bids at the request of the city. This additional work accounts for $72,000 of the difference between the estimate and the bids.

Kober said the bids also include state sales tax of about $10,000, which the city does not have to pay. In addition there will be another $13,000 savings off the bid price for allowing the contractor to retain the topsoil.

Bids approved: •Mathiowetz Construction, $215,683, earthworks and site utilities.  •MR Paving, $91,027, asphalt paving (to be done next spring.)  •Heymann Concrete, $89,034, site concrete.  •K & M Concrete, $190,186, building concrete.

Kober said he expected work to commence very soon, and in fact, on Tuesday an announcement was made that a groundbreaking ceremony will take place Wednesday, Oct. 26 at noon.

Architect Eric Oleson presented information on bid packet two, which the council expects to approve for letting at a special meeting on Nov. 4 and approve on Dec. 6. The packet includes all the remaining work on the event center, including the actual building, interior finishes, kitchen equipment, and all furniture, fixtures and equipment (tables and chairs).

Oleson said the estimate exceeds the remaining budget by about $400,000. He pointed out savings could be made in choices on most items in the bid packet.

Brian Gebauer of Consolidated Construction, the project management firm, joined the meeting by phone and assured the council that this is where the services they provide are especially beneficial. “We marry the final cost to the estimate,” he said. Consolidated will guide the process of choosing the best products and design features at the best prices to meet budget expectations.

In other business the council discussed, with building inspector Bernie Wenner, making changes to the rental license policy with an intent to strengthen the inspection process. Wenner said some landlords are uncooperative when scheduling inspections. “These are life safety inspections,” said Wenner. “Some landlords seem to think they are maintenance inspections and are reluctant to have them done.” The council agreed on the importance of inspecting rental housing units and asked Wenner and Kober to bring suggested changes to the next council meeting.