Major repairs, about $875,000, await city of Virginia

VIRGINIA — The City of Virginia has some major upkeep costs coming due — $800,000 on repairs to its Essentia Clinic building and $75,000 for rip rap work on the Silver Lake shoreline.

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The City Council Tuesday night approved a proposal to pay $32,500 to the Encompass engineering firm to put a study together for a facade restoration of the clinic building, which the city still owns.

The vote was unanimous, with Councilor Nevada Littlewolf absent.

The city has funds available to do the costly work, projected at $800,000, officials said.

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City Attorney Tom Butorac recommended hiring Encompass, the firm that did the original analysis of work, to get specifications and bids to see how much the repair work will cost.

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Councilors decided to rebid and redesign rip rap work according to Department of Natural Resources specifications for a 400-foot area of Silver Lake shoreline along the Hometown Focus business property line.

The council has agreed to use no more than the $75,000 of grant money from the DNR for the work that would alleviate erosion concerns.

The cost has been calculated at $85,000, which would exceed the DNR grant.

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The council was in a generous mood Tuesday, also approving spending money for a lobbyist from the Twin Cities to help secure bonding dollars for the proposed $12 million Miners Memorial Building renovation.

Well-known lobbying group Jerich & Associates was hired for $36,000 a year — from Nov. 1, 2015, to Oct. 31, 2016. Mike Jerich said the company would also be able to work on other projects for the city.

Jerich also said the firm will work year-round when there is no legislative session to hold fundraisers, do strategic planning and meeting with lawmakers on issues.

The 2016 legislative session will only be about 2 1/2 months long — from March 8 to mid-May.

The vote was unanimous, and there was no discussion.

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