Woodbury Drive Reconstruction: It's OK, it's Only Tax Dollars: Letter to the Editor

A frequenter attender of Washington County Board meetings outlines issues with process.

On October 23, 2012 I attended the Washington County Commissioner’s meeting to voice my concern about the proposed amendment to increase HR Green Company’s $1.2 million dollar contract to engineer and design a straight section of Woodbury drive from two lanes to four. A two mile stretch between Park Crossing and Bailey road.

Before the board I stated: as a tax payer in WC I would hope they’d respectfully decline HR Green’s request of a 13% raise of $281,379 to do the same job their contract with the County laid out. This original $1.2 million dollar contract was to make a preliminary and final design and engineering plans. Cory Slagle the presenter of the request stated the extra money was needed to make the final design.

I explained the project is already predicted to cost $13.3 million according to the latest council letter No 12-145, dated 6-13-12. link: http://www.ci.woodbury.mn.us/agendas/council/june132012/ccl/8a.htm

A more complex two mile road project in Crow Wing County going on right now with MNDot is reconstructing a four lane section of Hwy 371; moving CR 18 south a ¼ mile out of Nisswa; installing a pedestrian tunnel; building a roundabout; and realigning connections to the Paul Bunion trail all for just $7.6 million. This includes gutters, side walks, storm & sanitary sewers, and other utilities. link: http://www.dot.state.mn.us/d3/hwy371nisswa/index.html

I asked the council how Crow Wing County was able to design and build their more complex 2 mile road project for almost half the cost. I said HR Green shouldn’t be asking for more money to do what they agreed to do in the original contract. If anything they should be concerned about the $13.3 million dollar price tag.

Commissioner Weik responded by asking Mr. Slagle if the money was not approved would the road have to be more wide and cause homes to be tore down and damage the environment. He entertained her question and said it was possible. However; nothing could be further from the truth. The preliminary and the draft final plan have no plans to take any property and both are also very environmentally conscious. Furthermore, the contract includes creating preliminary and final design plans, there should be no request for additional funds.

Unfortunately Mr. Slagle had the last words, my time to speak was already over. The more liberal commissioners Weik, Kriesel, and Hegberg all asked similar leading questions to Mr. Slagle who was all to happy to draw the picture that without the bonus HR Green would not be able to make a safe design.

The amendment passed 5-0 to give HR green an extra $281,379 tax dollars. I don't disagree with the need for the road expansion or even the original contract, just the disregard for the value of our tax dollars. Please consider attending future County and city council meetings to prevent such irresponsible use of tax dollars. Tuesday mornings at 0900 on the fifth floor of the Washington County Government center in Stillwater. link:http://www.co.washington.mn.us/info_for_residents/board_of_commissioners/agenda/

—Matt Behning, Stillwater


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Paul Whackernutz November 06, 2012 at 02:35 AM
This is the same routine Ms. Weik used on homeowners who complained that the road design was trying to cram too much in too small a space.
Paul Frank November 06, 2012 at 10:50 PM
This was extremely well-written and informative.


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