September 17, 2020 Special Meeting

The Lakota City Council held a special meeting on September 17th, 2020, at the City Hall. Mayor Brad Hooey called the meeting to order at 9:30 a.m. All Council Members were present, except for Members Rainsberry, Hess and D. Mattern who were absent.  Audience members were Engineers Brad Muscha and Andrew Aakre, Kevin Matejcek, Jason Sorlien, Kevin Baumgarn, Dylan Webb, Josh Weikler, Kevin Stroin and Paul Miller legal counsel for Knife River.

Mayor Hooey recognized Kevin Matejcek, Jason Sorlien and Kevin Baumgarn of the Lakota Public School District. 

Mr. Sorlien stated he was asked to attend the council meeting.  Mayor Hooey stated he personally attempted to find a new owner for the UCC Church so it would not be demolished.  Mayor Hooey stated the possible sale fell thru.  Mr. Baumgarn stated the school is interested in the property and will be having a meeting with the church to review the property.  Member Vasichek stated there was a concern with the property being sold to a third party and then becoming a dilapidated building like the one across the street from the city hall. 

Matejcek, Sorlien and Baumgarn let the meeting at 9:37am.

Mayor Hooey recognized Knife River and Moore Engineering representatives.

Engineer Muscha provided the council with an agenda for discussion on the street project.  Engineer Muscha reviewed the wording and articles within the street project contract.  Engineer Muscha reviewed the defective work items still outstanding. 

Mr. Weikler provided his thoughts on the outstanding defective work as being a subgrade issue and not defective work.  Mr. Weikler stated he has voiced his concern about subgrade issues to Moore Engineering and the Geotech report states the soil is unsuitable.  Mr. Weikler stated Knife River cannot warranty work that has subgrade soil.

Mayor Hooey expressed displeasure for Knife River and the entire project, specifically for tearing up the town and leaving it in terrible conditions for months. Mr. Weikler stated the construction crew left Lakota after the soil was extremely wet and needed to dry.  Mr. Weikler stated he believes this was not communicated to the city by Moore Engineering.  Engineer Muscha stated this information was not provided to Moore Engineering nor was a schedule from Knife River as to when they would return when requested.

Discussion about areas of the street project by all parties was conducted.

Engineer Muscha stated Knife River is subject to $48,000 in liquidated damages. 

Mr. Miller stated he is counsel for Knife River and he has background as an engineer.  Mr. Miller reviewed the definition of liquidated damages and subgrade soil with the council.  Mr. Miller suggested coming up with an agreement between all parties in order to put the issue behind.

Mayor Hooey stated he believes there was a miscommunication issue between the contractor and engineer and that the city is left as a victim paying the bill.  Mayor Hooey stated he believes Moore Engineering should pay for some of the damages incurred.  Engineer Aakre stated he can accept some expense for the project but would need to get final approval from the management team.  Mr. Weikler stated Knife River is willing to accept the liquidated damages amount if the defective work items and other issues are waived.  Member Vasichek questioned if Moore Engineering would provide $20,000 in damages for the project.  Engineer Aakre stated he felt that was an acceptable amount but would need to get approval and he would let the council know by the end of the week.

The council agreed with the proposals provided by Knife River and Moore Engineering.

Mayor Hooey thanked Knife River for meeting with the city.

Webb, Weikler, Stroin and Miller left the meeting at 10:42am.

Engineer Aakre thanked the council for their time and stated he would like to visit with each down the road. 

Engineer’s Aakre & Muscha left the meeting at 10:49am.

Member Solberg stated with Roger Sateren leaving the golf course he has visited with Randy Karas about the option of taking over.  Member Solberg stated that Rick Schmidt is also interested.  Mayor Hooey suggested having Member Solberg interview both interested parties and come back to the council.

Auditor Vasichek stated a group would like to purchase lots currently owned by Tami Bulik to temporarily place a camper on during hunting season.  Auditor Vasichek stated their intent is to build a garage or shop on the lot for a more permanent structure within 2-5 years.  The council had no issue with this proposal.

Meeting adjourned at 10:57am

            APPROVED BY:                                             SUBMITTED BY:



Brad Hooey, Mayor                                          Amie Vasichek, Auditor