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MNGL contract grows

Red Wing City Council voted 5-2 Monday to extend a contract with Turf Solutions and Management to maintain the greens at Mississippi National Golf Links through Nov. 30.

The city will pay Turf Solutions $14,000 a month to maintain the course, for a total of $98,000 this year, according to the approved contract. Funding will come from the city's 2013 operating budget.

Council member Jason Sebion opened discussion by opposing the contract. Although its cost was below the city's requirement to bid all contracts above $100,000, he said it was close enough to warrant the council to research other options.

"I'd like to see it go out for bid, and see if there are any other candidates," Sebion said.

Council member Michael Schultz said he appreciated Sebion's position, but is worried that looking for other maintenance options this late in the year could jeopardize the greens.

"We're taking care of a golf course that has considerable infrastructure on it ... and if you do them wrong, you pay a critical price," Schultz said. "So we have to have somebody who really knows what they're going to do."

He added: "And right now, at this late hour, I'm not sure that we would find someone else."

Public Works Director Rick Moskwa later reiterated Schultz's position, adding that Turf Solutions already has experience with the course and its irrigation system.

Randy Juliar, chief manager at Turf Solutions, was the course superintendent at MNGL when it closed.

"Right now, for us to try to rebid this and get this done by May 1, that's not going to happen," Moskwa said. "It's physically impossible."

Council member Dean Hove also opposed the contract, voicing concern that Turf Solutions is a start-up company and would not have assets to go after should staff fail to maintain the course.

The contract requires Turf Solutions to have insurance to cover damage to city property, but Hove said it would not cover green failure due to workmanship.

Hove and Sebion voted to reject the contract. Schultz, Lisa Bayley, Peggy Rehder, Ralph Rauterkus and Marilyn Meinke voted to approve it.

Michael Brun

Michael Brun joined RiverTown Multimedia at the Red Wing Republican Eagle in March 2013, covering county government, health and local events.  He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls journalism program.

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