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City okays amended agreement with Costco

West Fargo City Commissioners went on record Monday night approving an amended agreement between the city and Costco relating to Improvement District No. 1234 that will provide assurances that their new West Fargo store will open on time without any distractions.

Used to moving into developed locations where all they have to do is construct the building, Costco wanted to make sure that all street and sewer and water improvements are in place so nothing will hinder the opening of their new store in West Fargo, along Veterans Blvd. and Interstate 94 on Nov. 1, 2012.

A number of alternatives had been discussed between the city and Costco including assigning the cities interest in the performance bond. The result selected was to keep a standard performance bond but include language in the contract allowing the city to take over work and complete it without going against the performance bond.

The city would only do this if there is a default by the contractor and Costco directed the city to do so.

In that event, under the agreement, the city would have Costco provide a licensed contractor to complete the work. The city would put an amount equal to the total amount of the construction cost, plus change orders minus monies already paid to the original contractor, into an escrow account. Costco's contractor would have to finish the project under the terms of the original contract with the cities total exposure no greater than the amount of the original contract plus any change orders.

Costco would then control the contractor to insure that work was done in order not to delay the store opening. If the new costs, plus what was paid to original contractor, exceed the amount of contract that risk is on Costco.

The city is also agreeing to pump sewage from the lines connected to Costco site if the sewer line connecting the Costco site to the main lift station is not completed in time. That is the item of contract likely to be completed last, but cost of pumping would be minimal. With no spring flood in site, frost levels not very deep, all contractor's having completed their work from last year's contract, and with the relatively simple nature of the work in District 124, there is no reason to believe this unique provision will ever be exercised.

The city intends to open bids on the project March 15 and award them at their March 19 meeting.

City Attorney Brian Neugebauer said the likelihood of the city having to use this provision is very minor.

The commission also authorized solicitation of bids for the Well No. 9 Rehabilitation Project with the engineer's cost estimate of $74,600 for cleaning, redevelopment, building, piping and electrical upgrades and painting. The well is located in Burlington subdivision by the Interstate.

The city has nine wells that provide water to the community. Well nine is the first that is being considered for this type of rehab, which in the past has either involved a complete refurbishing or drilling a new well.

The reason the wells production has been diminished is because of sediment build-up, i.e. minerals and corrosion, in the screen that is used for filtration around the well.

The rehab plan for well nine includes using a chemical treatment to clean up the mineral deposits so the well can continue functioning to capacity.

The preliminary process will involve pulling out the shaft and having it inspected to see if the well is a good candidate for the chemical treatment process. If it is, the work will proceed, if not, the process will stop without additional expense.

If the process works and the rehab is completed, City Engineer Kevin Bucholz said it could extend the life of the wells 30 to 40 years.

City Commissioner Duane Hanson, who holds the sewer and water department portfolio, said that if the well can't be fixed the city won't do it, but if it can be, he is in favor of spending the money to make ensure that it is done correctly.

He added that the city should also look at a new set of rules for well pumping a reference to spreading the useage around a little more and running the wells more often instead of full pressure to help save on further corrosion.

Bucholz said if the plan works, staff will look at similar rehabilitation of all city wells as need calls for it, since this option is definitely more cost effective.

In other action, the commission:

-approved a five-hear remodeling exemption for GRS Insurance, who -purchased the former Allen Ross Photography studio at 1291 13th Ave. E. and renovated the building from a retail/photographer center to an office building for the insurance company.The exemption was for $85,000, which was the increased value added during the remodeling and revocation of the building. Over five years, this will amount to a $1700 tax savings per year. The basic criteria for commercial projects is that the increase in value exceeds $50,000.-approved resolutions for the sale of $10,435,000, in refunding improvement bonds 2012, Series C, and $6,030,000 in refunding improvement bonds 2012, Series B, paving the way for acceptance of official bids which will be coming in later this week. Total savings by completing the refunding will amount to about $1.4 million.

-okayed changes to the on call and call back policies for the Employee Policy Handbook, including upping the on call pay from $50 to $70 for each week served on call.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the West Fargo City Commission will take place Monday, March 5, at 5:30 p.m., in the Commission Chambers at West Fargo City Hall, 800 4th Ave. E. All meetings are open to the public.