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Letter: Addressing the water tower

To the editor:

I am writing in response to the Feb. 14 letter to the editor about the city's recently-approved contract for maintenance on the Commonwealth Avenue water tower.

The letter writer, Adam Hanson, criticized the city's approach to maintaining its water towers; he suggested the city should not use a long-term service contract to maintain the Commonwealth Avenue water tower and instead should use traditional bidding processes. Although he informs readers he is a Woodbury resident, he neglects to mention he is also the Director of Government Relations for Associated Builders and Contractors of Minnesota/North Dakota — essentially he is a lobbyist. This organization has actively worked to achieve its own interests, not the interests of the residents of Woodbury.

Cities have many tools to deliver services to their residents, and their goal is to get good value and a great product at a good price. In some situations, cities hire the "lowest bidder," but that can result in hiring a contractor unconcerned about quality. This is the situation Woodbury and some other cities have experienced in the area of water tower rehabilitation. Most recently, Woodbury struggled with a contractor from Mississippi that failed to meet timelines, required additional oversight and inspections, and resulted in cost overages.

Woodbury is committed to providing long-term value to its residents. By using a 10-year service contract to hold consultants and contractors accountable to delivering a product that lasts, the city will serve its residents best. As a lobbyist, Mr. Adams is committed to serving the specific interests of the contractors he represents, and his comments should be taken in that light.

Klayton Eckles

Director of Engineering and Public Works

City of Woodbury