Two Harbors won't pay hefty consulting billThe city of Two Harbors is facing a hefty bill for consulting work that was done at the Lake View National Golf Course last year as it faced closing several holes due to dried-up greens and poor fairway turf.
The city of Two Harbors is facing a hefty bill for consulting work that was done at the Lake View National Golf Course last year as it faced closing several holes due to dried-up greens and poor fairway turf.
Jud Crist submitted an invoice requesting $8,000 for consulting work he did as the city scrambled to fix the course. Of the $8,000, he is requesting $5,000 for looking the golf course over. Council members approved for him to do consulting work up to $5,000, but no specific contract was drawn between Crist and the city. Crist is asking that $3,000 be paid to him for work he performed after he made a list of what needed to be done to improve the condition of the golf course.
Council members aren’t happy with the invoice and said they were not pleased with the consulting work that was done, although they hadn’t publically aired qualms about the report until the invoice showed up. They said Crist should have presented the problems he found with the golf course to the council. Instead, a six-page report was submitted. “The product we got out of this was horrible at best,” council member Steve Detlefsen said.
But the council used his suggestions to winter the course and prepare for this year as the financial drain of the course continues. City Financial Director Rick Sundstrom said last month that income at the course was down $41,000 from last year despite promises from the council that course finances would right themselves this year after parts of the course were closed due to turf conditions.
While council members agreed that the report was unsatisfactory, they faced the fact that they voted to allow Crist to do the consulting work without a specific contract.
“Each and every one of us who voted for this is guilty,” council member Mary Rosati said.
Because there was no contract, council members wondered what might happen is the city refused to pay Crist. City attorney Steve Overom said if council members voted down the request “then (Crist) will do what he has to do.”
In the end, council members voted down Crist’s request. Council member Dan Jones and Mayor Randy Bolen were the minority “yes” votes. Council members asked Overom and city administrator Lee Klein to work with Crist on coming up with a lower consulting fee for the council to consider.
The $3,000 portion of the invoice for maintenance work was not billable to the city. Kyle Ness, the previous manager of the golf course, was paid by the city to do that work. Crist will have to go to Ness to be paid for that work.
Continuing a discussion held during the last regular city council meeting, city council members discussed whether or not to waive around $3,000 in golf fees from the Vikings Golf Scramble held in August and hosted by Viking Legends Sports Bar & Grill.
Earlier this month, Mark Pearson, owner of Viking Legends, asked council members if they would waive the fee so that more money could be donated to the Two Harbors High School athletic program. The scramble was held to raise money for students who wanted to play high school sports, but could not afford the nearly $200 athletic fees.
Council members discussed a number of options, from completely waiving the fees to not allowing any sort of discount.
Bolen brought Pearson’s request up again Monday, this time suggesting that only 25 percent of the fees be waived, which would amount to around $750.
Rosati and council member Seth McDonald were still not in favor of waiving any fees. They said it wasn’t right to give away money that would otherwise go toward the golf course, which is supported by tax dollars. “I’m not making a decision that’s basically putting this on tax payers,” MacDonald said.
Bolen and Swanson were on the other side of the fence, and said the money would be going toward a good cause. Detlefsen made the suggestion to use money from the parks and recreation budget to pay for the $750 waiver that was proposed. A motion was made to refer the request to the committee to make the decision. That motion was supported with a 4-2 vote. Rosati and MacDonald voted no, while council member Jerry Norberg abstained without giving a reason.
Two Harbors police chief Kevin Ruberg spoke with the council about using an online auction service similar to one Lake County is using to get rid of unwanted items for the best price possible.
Because the police department does not have an adequate amount of space to store forfeited vehicles, and often doesn’t accumulate enough vehicles for a large auction, Ruberg has been looking into using an online auction service, called Do-Bid.com, to sell them.
Don Oberfoell and Bart Kyte manage the online service based in Mountain Iron. Ruberg said many police and governmental agencies in northeastern Minnesota use the service, and that it would save the police department time.
When the police department acquires property, whether it is a car, bicycle, or computer, they simply have to call the auctioneer service, which picks up the property, gets it ready for auction, and posts it online along with other similar items they are auctioning off. The website takes commission once the property is sold, but Ruberg said the service is worth the price the police department would pay because of the time it would save.
Ruberg also said that by posting the items online, it is likely that the property would auction off for more money than holding a local auction because more people are able to bid on the items.
Council members agreed to let Ruberg try the service out after having Overom look over the specifics of the program. Some items, such as bicycles, may be kept for local auction. The online service does not require an umbrella contract, so items can be posted at police department discretion.