City council holds off on request for substantial completion of project

By Chad Koenen

Publisher

With the substantial completion date for the 2nd Street project passing last week, the city council heard of a request from Sellin Brothers to push back that deadline to October 31.

During its regularly scheduled meeting on Monday night, Bob Schlieman, of Apex Engineering, said the request was due to additional work, soil conditions, industry wide labor shortages and impact of COVID-19. He said the reasons were pretty vague, in his opinion, but credited Sellin Brothers for working hard at completing the project ever since they arrived on scene. 

While he said the company got a late start on the project, due to the City of Henning waiting to move forward until its PFA funding was in place, Schlieman’s recommendation was to table the issue to see if the work can be completed sooner than October 31.

“Every day is important when we get to the middle or end of October,” he said. “We are not telling them no, we are not going to tell them yes, it is just an incentive for them to move ahead.”

The council said it will address the topic concerning the substantial completion date at a later time. 

In other news 

• Approved changing the date of the regularly scheduled meeting in November to Monday, Nov. 8.

• Approved having new city attorney Tom Jacobson come up with a draft regarding who is the HR contact within the City of Henning. Jacobson said the current policy is out of date. The draft will be brought back to the whole council at a later date.

• Heard from Jacobson that he would like clarity over his contacts within the City of Henning and the Henning City Council.  In many communities, his rule of thumb was to have his contacts be the mayor and city clerk in order to streamline phone calls, emails and communication. He said other communities view this as a cost saving measure so just two people are contacting the attorney when needed, instead of the entire council and employees. However, he said he can communicate however is needed for Henning. The council agreed to have the mayor and clerk be the point of contact for the city attorney. 

• Heard from Jacobson regarding the city’s credit card policy. He will be making necessary recommendations for a credit card policy to bring back to the November meeting. 

• Heard from Hope Sapp of the Willow Creek Commission about a cost comparison done concerning purchasing some items locally at B&D Foods and driving to a neighboring community to purchase items at the city-owned assisted living facility. She said the study showed it was less expensive to shop out of town and pay an employee to drive to that community. The council also heard from Willow Creek Director Lisa Augustus also said that the facility is emphasizing that signed copies of receipts are needed for charges being made at B&D Foods. The council once again reiterated it would like to have as much shopping done locally as possible to support local businesses. 

• Approved giving council member Scott Hart the authority to move forward with developing a plan to seek a public vote on implementing a local sales tax. The decision was not an approval to put the proposal on the ballot, but gives Hart the authority to put together a plan to bring before the council.