by Joni Astrup
An expansion of Elk River’s public works facility is planned, and profits from the city’s liquor operation will help pay for it.
Elk River owns the Northbound and Westbound liquor stores, and intends to spend $2.75 million in liquor store profits to help pay for the public works expansion.
While costs are still preliminary, total cost of the public works expansion is estimated at $10 million.
Not having to bond for the full cost of the project over 25 years is expected to save the city a little more than $1 million in interest, according to Finance Director Tim Simon.
“If anybody would ever question why you would be in the liquor business, this is why,” Dave Potvin told the council Sept. 19. Potvin is operations manager for the liquor stores.
Potvin said liquor store profits have also paid for an ice resurfacer at the Elk River Arena and a fire vehicle, paid debt on City Hall and made regular transfers to the city’s general fund. So far this year, for instance, $270,000 in liquor store profits was transferred to the city’s general fund in 2011 and $95,000 to parks.
“It’s very gratifying to my staff and myself,” Potvin said. “This is why we exist and this is why we work so hard for the city.”
The public works facility is located on a 27-acre site at 19000 Proctor Rd.
Phase I of the expansion includes site preparation such as relocating the compost area and oil drop-off station and installing a new fueling station.
Phase II includes building an approximately 65,000-square-foot addition to the current public works building. That building is now 18,400 square feet in size.
Bids totalling $660,674 have been awarded for most of Phase I of the project. The following bids were awarded Sept. 19 by the Elk River City Council:
•Site demolition and grading, Fehn Companies, $241,343
•Asphalt paving, Midwest Asphalt Corporation, $232,225
•Site concrete, CR Fischer, $10,850
•Fuel island, Pump and Meter Service Inc., $176,256
The council held off awarding a bid to Greystone Construction. That bid includes the relocation an existing salt shed. The company that manufactured the salt shed has gone out of business and there is a possibility that the shed may not have been designed properly for the current building codes. A structural engineer is evaluating it.