County board to certify 2013 levies; get St. Croix bridge update

The Washington County Board of Commissioners will certify 2013 property tax levies, consider resolutions on two separate county budgets; hear an update on the St. Croix River Crossing project, and review the county’s 2013 legislative positions at their meeting and a workshop Tuesday.

Property tax levies for the county, the county Regional Rail Authority and the county Housing and Redevelopment Authority are up for certification by commissioners under the state’s Truth in Taxation law. That law requires the county to certify a preliminary property tax levy by Sept. 15. Once the board certifies the levies, it cannot raise them, but it can reduce them when the final levy and budget are adopted in December.

Along with the levy resolutions, the board also is asked to pass resolutions adopting the proposed 2013 RRA and county budgets.

Prior to acting on the levy and budget resolutions, commissioners will hear separate updates on the St. Croix River bridge project from Jon Chiglo, the state Department of Transportation’s project manager, and on the CSAH 10 repairs from Cory Slagle, county transportation manager.

Chiglo’s meeting with the County Board comes two weeks after the Oak Park Heights City Council approved a resolution giving its final consent to the bridge project regarding project work on Minnesota Highway 36.

With the Oak Park Heights council decision, Chiglo said work on the Minnesota approach to the bridge starts in May.

Contracting crews were on the St. Croix River this summer driving test pilings and taking water and soil samples in preparation for design and engineering work on the planned bridge.

Slagle will discuss repairs to the CSAH 10 mill and overlay work. Hardrives Inc. was awarded the contract for work on 10th Street North in Oakdale from Interstate 694 to Inwood Avenue. During the project, however, unexpected shifts in subgrade soils resulted in several rough patches on the road.

County Public Works officials said soil studies have been completed and plans developed to repair the areas. Slagle will review the repairs, schedule and costs with commissioners.

In a separate presentation, commissioners are asked to accept Hardrives’ bid of $714,223 on the CSAH 23 project around the Government Center in Stillwater. The work includes pavement milling and replacement and work on curbs and gutters, storm sewer, sidewalks and pedestrian crossings from Main to Orleans street.

The county estimated the project cost at $680,634, with funds coming from the county levy, city of Stillwater and state aid. Hardrives was one of two companies submitting bids, with the other bid of more than $735,000 from Midwest Asphalt Corp.

The board also meets in a workshop with county administrators to discuss the county’s 2013 legislative agenda. Among the items county officials will ask lawmakers to address are local property taxpayer protection; metro area transit governance; increasing the wheelage tax to reduce reliance on property taxes for transportation; a Browns Creek State Trail grade separation at Manning Avenue, and if voters approve the Voter ID constitutional amendment, how much of the cost of implementing Voter ID will fall to the county.