Same song, second verse.

Much to the chagrin of Robin, who has to get all these pages zipped up (or some such techy term) and electronically off to House of Print in Madelia by 9 a.m. on Wednesday, I usually don’t write this column until Wednesday morning. And often there are also sports pages to proof, due to Tuesday night games.

Well, the snow and wind on Tuesday caused the games to be cancelled—so the sports section was all done at the end of the day on Tuesday. The reason my column is left until last is because I am still wondering what the topic will be.

There is nothing like a good city council meeting to give me inspiration though. And Tuesday night’s meeting was very good. With new council members there was a new dynamic. The new mayor, who has been attending council meetings for more than a year, was comfortable in the role and conducted the meeting with excellent parliamentary procedure.

I do have to apologize to the council. They very kindly posed for a “new” council picture before the meeting started. I wanted to document their first meeting, as I did with the school board. Unfortunately, the meeting was so interesting that the article took up all the space saved for the picture. (And really, the picture didn’t turn out very good anyway—weird, uneven lighting in that room.)

The discussion on the event center bids went in circles for quite some time. Here is where you get my opinion.

I commend the council for taking care when making decisions about spending city funds. But, that care goes two ways. The bid packets were approved by the council before letting. The bids in question last night actually totaled $274,000 under the architect’s estimate—which had also been approved by the council. (Nathan Stevermer tallied the bids during the meeting and provided that number.)

So, the council should be careful spending money. But, they should also be careful about jeopardizing the project going forward—also a potentially costly proposition. The foundation is in place, bids have already been awarded for structural steel and rough carpentry. There were no suggestions for rebidding any portion of the bid packet, and why would there be? The bids were favorable.

The event center construction management company has an estimated completion date in early summer. The city expects that furnishings can be installed and operational procedures adopted in time for a September opening. In fact there is already a list of weddings and business meetings for the space.

Next Wednesday the council is meeting to consider the final bids. I hope that all questions and concerns can be addressed so this project can move forward according to plan.

I’ll publish a complete list of bid awards after that meeting.