Expense Approval Register details city expenses for last two weeks

Posted 1/12/22

DR. WILLIAM DOEBLER APPEARS AT OPEN FORUM, SHARES PERSONAL BACKGROUND PLUS THOUGHTS ON DUNES by Joseph Back It was a short one as council meetings go. Coming in at just over 24 minutes with one open …

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Expense Approval Register details city expenses for last two weeks



by Joseph Back

It was a short one as council meetings go. Coming in at just over 24 minutes with one open forum speaker, no presentations and one bid award (for Thompson Grove-Pond 14), the Cottage Grove Council meeting for January 5 sped through the night’s agenda in under a half-hour. Before the clock ran out there was plenty to cover— including disbursements!

If budgets are a statement of values, disbursements (also called ‘bills’) are a statement of obligations. So what were some of the financial obligations satisfied by the City between December 15 and 31st?

The Expense Approval Report for January 5 tells us.

In the first place, the bi-weekly city payrolls for December 16 totaled $346,529.55, while the bi-weekly payroll for December 30 totaled $382,020.14. With payroll satisfying just $728,549.69 or 18.12 percent of the bi-weekly total obligation ledger of $4,023,568.53, there were other items to pay as well, some big and others small, in dollar amounts.

Starting out the ledger review for the last disbursements period were 53 separate neighborhood “erosion and sediment” inspections by the South Washington County Watershed District, with numbers ranging from $27.50 for Summer’s Landing 5th Addition to the southwest all the way up to $398.75 for Hinton Woods further north. The average as taken by dividing the total of $9,790 across all 53 inspections was $184.72, for neighborhoods across the city.

Also coming in for mention in the January 5 approved disbursements, was $19,908 for boiler replacement at the Cottage Grove Ice Arena, to be carried out by Total Mechanical Services, Inc.

Also related to the ice arena was a $2,172.50 bill for quarterly HVAC, paid to the same company. Food supplies for the the ice arena, totaled $1,709.94, while beverages for the ice arena saw $941.57 paid out to Farmer Bros. Co., one of many vendors.

Located out at 8020 80th Street, the Cottage Grove Ice arena plays host to a variety of clubs and uses, including by the Cottage Grove Figure Skating Club, the Cottage Grove Hockey Association, the Cottage Grove Skating School, the East Ridge High School boys hockey club and the Park High School boys and girls hockey clubs. January Open Skate sessions are scheduled from 3:15 to 4:15 p.m. on Sunday, along with Open Broom Ball from 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on the same day. A Cosmic Skate is also held on Saturdays from 6:15 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. at the arena, with skating lessons offered at other times. So what are some other disbursements from January 5th?

Sand—Lots and lots of sand.

Coming in from Aggregate Industries is a charge for two loads of safety grit sand at a total of $$2,016.659 each, while a charge listed as “Hamlet Scoreboard” from Aim Electronics totals $12,334. The scoreboard at Hamlet park is part of an upgrade including regrading of the site, with much of the park upgrade costs raised by the Cottage Grove Athletics Association, the purchases then made by the City, per Parks Director Zac Dokter.

Also listed in the most recent Expense Approval Report, meanwhile, are 18 separate charges to Amazon Fulfillment Services, for everything from plastic name Badge ID card holders for the HERO Center, to LED fog light bulbs by JD Grader ($37.96) and paper coffee filters ($153.84). The South District Sanitary Sewer Phase 1 Testing SVC by American Engineering Testing Inc is listed at $4,491.50, while Bolton and Menks (an engineering and public infrastructure firm that the city contracts with) has 82 entries totaling $524,494.25 for the last two weeks.

Charges from Bolton and Menk in the two-week period ending December 31 include a Comp Sanitary Sewer Plan for $9,382, Pavement Management SVCS for $231,319, and a Mississippi Dunes Golf Develop SVC” for $1,031, to name just a few. The Bolton and Menk charges just approved for payment are dated from September and October, in terms of work being done. With $69,245 in refund escrow payments to Capstone Homes, the most interesting vendor from a payment standpoint may just be the payee: “City of Cottage Grove.”

With $309.96 in petty cash reimbursements spread out over 20 different charges, the largest amount paid to the City by the City for these last two weeks was for $32.47 for “Office MA,” while the lowest $2.96, for a purchase at Walmart. Petty cash is used to make small purchases with cash for which writing a check, would not make sense. Also in disbursements was $70.03 in soft chews for K9 Gunnar, Cottage Grove’s canine officer. The entire list of disbursements is 49 pages long.

Following approval of disbursements on January 5 with a motion by Council member Steve Dennis seconded by Dave Thiede, it was on to public hearings and bid awards.

“Nine is public hearings. We do not have any tonight,” Mayor Bailey said from the agenda. Number 10 is bid awards. We do have one.” With that Cottage Grove public works director Ryan Burfiend came to the podium.

“Good evening mayor, members of the Council. We do have our bid award for tonight, for TG-P14,” he said.

Sharing that the designated letters and numbers stood for Thompson Grove – Pond 14, Burfiend filled in the Council on the details: dirt taken from TGP14 and placed to the east on a site slated for development, along with the incorporation of the volume previously supplied by TG – P16 nearby into the improved TG-P14, with tree clearing to start soon. The water holding capacity of TG-P16 would be replaced with an enlarged and improved TG-P14.

“We want to be ready to go as soon as the frost is out of the ground for the excavation part,” Burfiend said of soil removal on site at 95th Avenue, which meant tree clearing as several had grown up over the years at the site. Earlier during open forum, a member of the public spoke on an old topic. Former Mississippi Dunes Golf Course owner Dr. William Doebler shared his background and thoughts on the matter with Council and others present.

First sharing that he had been in two accidents the previous night before saying, “but that’s Minnesota weather,” the somewhat tired-looking Doebler shared that he worked in tele-radiography from a medicine standpoint, and had grown up in Red Wing, Minnesota.

As to the former golf course which he himself designed, Doebler shared memories of January 2007, when he said the temperature didn’t get above 30 below for 30 days, along with a time from 2016 when he had sodded three greens in December.

With concern over whether the winter-time seeding would work, at the time, Doebler shared that, “it worked,” concluding that “unless you try, you never know.” With that came more memories of Mississippi Dunes back when it was a golf course.

“Some say it was the best in the world. I still remember great weddings and events,” Doebler said, then going on. “I think it can be a great playground for people to get away from the hustle and bustle of today.” One reason he said was that nothing had to be torn up. “It’s all there,” he said of the property. Mayor Bailey then glanced over at city staff and shared an open house to be held the following night on Thursday, January 6, where Doebler and others could share ideas.

Before long, the January 5th Council meeting had finished its business and adjourned, closing out in under a half-hour.