by ADAM GRUENEWALD
While it may look fairly pristine on the outside, the Cologne City Hall building is in need of some interior painting.
Considering the financial revenue stream it generates for the city and upcoming summer weddings, council members unanimously approved a first stage up to $7,000 for interior painting and repair on Monday.
Three separate bids were received for the entire project, $10,350 from Painting by Brush of Bongards, $10,575 from local Champion Painting and $10,666 from West Side Painting of Eden Prairie.
City Administrator John Hendel said the building has not been painted since they moved in December 2006, so there are areas where new paint is needed.
“As you long around in some of the areas used a lot more than others there is a lot of wear and tear,” he said. “A lot of tape marks that have pulled stuff up and a lot re-patches, touch-ups that just aren’t looking well.”
The top priorities are the gymnasium and main entry hallway, while other less visible areas will be delayed.
“For a building that’s been here six-and-a-half years, I feel a paint job would be the smart way to go,” said Hendel. “From there, every two to three years, start breaking everything down again and find out what would be the most worn.”
Funding for the project will come from money set aside for repairs and upkeep, which has sufficient funds.
Council member Jeff McInnis advocated for the decision for the preliminary stage of the gym, hallway and spaces that are rented out.
“It might be an easier cookie… to swallow, if we stagger it,” he said. “If we did the big chunk first, then next year we did this and the next year we staggered… I just think it would be nice if we take the big stuff that everybody sees.”
Regarding the gym, the focus will be the lower 12 feet of the wall, which is in need of the most repair.
“Once we get it repainted, we then have a new canvas to start with and tell everybody who rents it, ‘hey, this wasn’t that way,’” said Hendel.
Mayor Matt Lein reminded council members that the building is key for city finances as it holds events and weddings, the first of which is on June 22.
“We also need to remember that this building is a source of revenue for the city,” said Lein. “So we need to keep it pretty and the revenue will keep coming in.”
City staff will next revisit the bids for the smaller-sized scope of the project and, according to Hendel, will have painters begin soon with completion expected in time for the first wedding.
In other news, council members heard from Joel Stencel of Mankato-based EideBailly regarding the final annual audit.
In FY2012, the City of Cologne reported $1.73 million in cash reserves in the general fund with increases of both revenue ($1.47 million) and expenses ($1.4 million).
City water funds and sewer funds remain in good shape, while the storm sewer fund had an increase in expenses from $8,094 to $26,903 and a decrease in cash from $39,524 to $33,882.
“Here we just saw some significant increase in repairs and maintenance in the storm sewer,” said Stencel.
Regarding the city’s 2006 and 2008 bonds, Stencel said the city is in the process of refinancing those bonds, but should be aware of them.
“We audited another city where they got into it a little too deep,” he said. “Once you’re sliding down that slope, it’s awfully hard to come back from… Not that you’re headed that way, but it’s easier to get ahead of the game then it is to catch up.”
Also, council reviewed the questionnaire for applicants for the council position held by Jill Skaaland and approved an addendum to the developer’s agreement with the Village at Cologne Fifteenth Addition for signage.
Applications for the council position, available at city hall, are due by June 14. The Cologne City Council will next meet on Monday, June 17, at 7 p.m.
Contact Adam Gruenewald at firstname.lastname@example.org.