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Becker County plows ahead with $9.8 million bond issuance for highway department

The 20-foot high shop area will have a platform lift, a two-post lift and a crane system on metal tracks that can access most of the shop area. It can be used for heavy work, like lifting off a truck box and replacing it, or pulling out an engine. It will also be used to store and access heavy equipment and large tires in a loft area.

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An artist's rendering of the new Becker County Highway Department headquarters on North Tower Road. <br/>
(Graphic by McGough Construction of Fargo / Tribune)
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Plans for a new Becker County Highway Department facility got the green light Tuesday, when the county board approved the sale of up to $9.8 million in general obligation bonds.

The true interest cost is not to exceed 2.75% for the 20-year bond issuance. Ehlers, a public finance advisory firm in Roseville, is handling the bond sale, which will be completed by March 1.

The board also approved the low roofing bid of $925,000 submitted by Herzog Roofing of Detroit Lakes. Other bidders were McDowall, Haataja, A&R Roofing, and The Roofing Company – which submitted the next lowest bid of $940,000.

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A look at the shop area of the new Becker County Highway Department. The "lean-to" storage area is under the overhang next to the plow. <br/>
(Graphic by McGough Construction of Fargo / Tribune)

The new highway department compound on North Tower Road is expected to cost about $12.5 million, according to the five-year capital improvement plan put together by Ehlers as part of the bonding process. The county has other funds earmarked to supplement the bond issuance.

Roughly speaking, about half the building will be taken up by a 7,800-square-foot parking and storage area on the north side. Offices will take up the southwest quarter of the building, and the shop area will take up the final southeast quarter.

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A non-automated wash bay will be next to the shop area, and a roof overhang “lean-to” outdoor storage area will be next to that.

As part of the project, Becker County Transit will relocate to the new highway department facility from its bus garage in the Becker County Fairgrounds. The new transit garage will be basically an extension of the warm parking area.

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The office area of the new Becker County Highway Department, which will be built with engineered steel panels instead of precast concrete. <br/>
(Graphic by McGough Construction of Fargo / Tribune)

The shop-maintenance area will include a welding shop and a small engine and wood shop, which will be shared with the Becker County Natural Resources Management (forestry) Department.

The 20-foot high shop area will have a platform lift, a two-post lift and a crane system on metal tracks that can access most of the shop area. It can be used for heavy work, like lifting off a truck box and replacing it, or pulling out an engine. It will also be used to store and access heavy equipment and large tires in a loft area.

Becker County has been frugal with its bonding authority: It has about $10.4 million in existing debt, and even after the new bond issuance, will still have over $200 million in unused statutory debt authority.

That number is based on how much taxable property is inside the county. All the property in Becker County is currently valued at about $7.53 trillion. By law, the county can’t take on debt over 3% of that estimated market value, so that sets the county’s debt ceiling at about $226 million.

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