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Council approves new building official deal; OKs aquatic center change order

The Worthington City Council approved during its Monday night meeting the appointment of a designated building official who is currently employed by the city of Windom.

State statute requires that municipalities have a designated building official to administer the code and perform inspection on non-exempt buildings, which are generally identified as commercial buildings. According to a memo to city council members that was revised Friday afternoon, the city's building inspector, Brent Jacobsen, recently attained certification as Building Official-Limited and shall be designated as Worthington’s building official, but his certification does not allow him to perform inspections on non-exempt buildings.

Last November, council members approved the appointment of Gene Abbott as the designated building official for what was intended to be a short-term arrangement. The City of Windom has now agreed to allow its certified building official, Andrew Spielman, to perform inspections on non-exempt buildings in Worthington until Jacobsen attains his certification, which is expected in the next six to 12 months.

Worthington will pay Windom $60 per hour plus expenses for Spielman’s services for an estimated six hours per week of oversight and inspections. The designation will be effective on Wednesday.

“I was very pleased that Windom was able to help us out,” Worthington City Administrator Steve Robinson said.

The council also approved a first change order proposal submitted by Tri-State General Contracting for work at the Worthington Aquatic Center. The order includes modifications to the pool design as required by the state of Minnesota and slide upgrades previously approved by council members. The proposed change order is an increase of $81,219.01, increasing the total contract price to $6,340,057.01.

Additionally, the purchase of new software for all parcel management, permit management, building/rental inspections and more was approved. A proposal for new software from Municity details a first-year cost of $71,460, with costs falling to less than $13,000 for the next couple of years.

“It will allow staff to better utilize our time and make staff more efficient,” explained Worthington City Planner Matt Selof, who added that the software will allow greater public accessibility to related information online.

“It sounds like it meets the test of work smarter, not harder,” councilwoman Alaina Kolpin said.

The city will use American Rescue Plan Act funds to cover the new software’s costs.

Also Monday, council members approved the leasing of a block to 35 stalls to management of the Thompson building on annual basis for the amount of $4,300. Previously, during its Dec. 28, 2021 meeting, the council approved the removal of 10 two-hour parking stalls from the municipal parking lot located behind the Thompson, between Park Lane and 11th Street. Under the lease agreement, Thompson management will sublease the parking stalls out to the building’s residents, and it will be up to them as to how they choose to manage the 35 stalls.

In another matter, council members ordered the preparation of a report on proposed street reconstruction improvements that encompass necessary curb and gutter work in multiple locations that include portions of Apel Avenue, Bristol Street, Cynthia Avenue, Eleanor Street and West Oxford Street. The city already has an agreement in place with Bolton and Menk to provide engineering services on the work.

Additionally, new Worthington Police Department officer Logan Waldner was introduced and also took his officer oath. Waldner, a Worthington High School graduate, started with the department on Aug. 2.

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