Property Committee holds emergency meeting to discuss sallyport project

The Marquette County Property Committee met on May 27th for an emergency meeting on the sallyport project and bid. Buildings and Grounds Superintendent Paul Van Treeck reported that they had opened bids for the project and the base bid came back at $2,382,016, which is $700,000 above their projections. They had a 15% contingency built into the projected price and the new price comes in at 30%. 

Van Treeck said that there was enough money in what was borrowed to do the base bid and that County Administrator Ron Barger could sign off on it. He asked the committee if they were comfortable moving forward with the bid from Ideal Contractors in Madison, which was the only bid received. He proposed potentially waiting to rebid the project in Fall for a spring construction date, as the other contractors he talked to did not have the personnel to do the project this year, but would for next spring.

Barger said that moving forward now would involve not building the cold storage facility that had been planned and using all of the contingency for the project. Van Treeck said that if they moved forward with it now and used the cold storage funds as the contingency funds, they would have 8% for contingency, or $200,000. Barger asked what the reputation of Ideal Contractors was, and Van Treeck said there was nothing wrong with them and that he had no concerns with them.

Van Treeck said that Venture Architects was 50/50 on what the County should do. They run the risk of further price increases if they wait, but would have more bids to choose from. He told the committee to not fool themselves by thinking they could make up the $700,000 increase by rebidding the project in the fall. “That’s just not going to happen. The prices are the prices and we’re not in any place different than any other person currently doing construction right now.” 

Committee member Judi Nigbor questioned if the company actually wanted to do the project and didn’t just bid the project high. Van Treeck said they didn’t know because there wasn’t a comparable bid. Members on the committee discussed how there is a massive amount of contractor work being done throughout the state and that many companies do not have the extra workers to work on additional projects. They debated the idea of waiting to bid until fall and discussed the risks of waiting until then.

County Administrator Ron Barger said he was in favor of moving forward with the project now. He cited concerns over the unknown variables that would come with waiting and preferred the current bid as its price was set, and they could still do most of the project with the money borrowed. Barger said he wanted to do this right and well and didn’t want to compromise on materials used for the project.

Members expressed concerns that costs wouldn’t come down anytime soon and discussed how fuel costs would have an impact on the project. Most of the members agreed that the project needs to be done even if the cold storage building is cut from the project.

Sheriff Joe Konrath said that not having the sallyport was a hazard for the building and the people inside it. He said he understood cutting the cold storage building but said that they need the sallyport. Konrath said they are the only county in the state that does not have a sallyport. 

Barger said they did not have to vote on accepting the bid, as he had the authority to do so. He asked the committee for a consensus to move forward with accepting this bid. The board’s consensus was to move forward with accepting the bid and to not include the construction of the cold storage building as part of the project.