Village will look at bidding cost for new fire truck bay
In an effort to make sure they review exact numbers, Park Ridge officials plan to hire an engineering firm to design, specifications and bid construction of a new Fire Department building.
That does not mean the Village Board approves of building, members said.
Rather, they want precise information on construction costs since six initial proposals vary in price from about $100,000 to $600,000. The proposals also differ in what was included in the building, with one proposal listing the basic structure and others specifying additional costs for plumbing, electric and excavating.
“The numbers we were going off of were a little soft,” Village President Kathy Budelier said. “If we’re going to build, does it makes sense to bite the bullet and build it now, or do we say what we have is what we’re going to have the rest of our existence?
“Until you get the bids in, you don’t know what the actual cost is,” she said.
Board members Monday, May 16, voted 4 to 1 to have Budelier query at least three firms to determine the cost for design, specifications and bidding out a new 50-by-50-foot Fire Department building. Budelier, Randy Busch, Patricia Baker and Bob Gifford voted for the query and Gordon Renfert voted against it.
“I was kind of horrified when I saw some of this,” Renfert said of the proposals. “Some have plumbing, some don’t. Some charge $35,000 for concrete, some charge $10,000 … I had little interest in Option 4 (building a new structure) before, and now I have none.”
Costs for the process were projected at between $15,000 and $25,000 based on initial proposals for estimated construction costs for a new building. Lampert Lee, an engineering firm that submitted one of the proposals, showed a price of about $25,000 for the design, specifications and bidding process, depending on the extent of the process.
Board members have been actively looking into options for replacing old engines since October 2015. Rather than approving purchase of a new engine and customizing other trucks, village leaders decided to include options that would take the department into the future, including whether to disband and contract services from Stevens Point and building a new bay to accommodate newer, more updated equipment and ease some of the existing space constraints.
Board members eliminated two options, including contracting with Stevens Point for services. The two remaining options are:
* Replace Engine 1 and convert the existing Engine 1 into a hose wagon. Initial estimates were about $240,000. New figures presented Monday drop that dollar amount to about $200,000.
* Build a new vehicle bay building, replace Engine 1 and convert the existing Engine 1 into a hose wagon, initially estimated at about $270,000 total. Proposals reviewed Monday show the total could double to about $500,000.
Gifford called the proposals “a kick in the teeth.”
“I think rightfully so we’re going to have some serious dissention,” he said.
Former Village President Tom Gloudemans said based on the new numbers, the choice should be clear.
“I think the investment in a building is not a wise investment,” he said. “We’re going to end up doubling the cost … we had a hearing and your letter talked about $240,000 to $270,000. Now the truck is reduced to about $200,000 and the building has raised to $400,000 (not including the engine) and you’re not going to go back to the village and say, ‘Oops?’”
Another village resident said spending the money to get the project bid to see true costs “is a gamble worth taking because you’re looking at the future, not today.”
He asked about the tax impact, saying the village’s taxes were still “pretty good” even with the potential added cost. Board members have reported that if the village borrowed $250,000 for 10 years, it would add about $60 per year for property valued at $100,000, so $120 for property valued at $200,000.
Board members agreed that the decision hinges on whether the board wants to look toward the future of the fire department.
“I think to go with option 3 (replacing and converting the engines) is another Band-Aid,” Baker said. “It’s not thinking 25 years down the road, it’s thinking ‘what’s the cheapest way to do it now.’ I think it’s short-sighted.”
Baker also said that should the bids come back pushing half a million dollars, that might “move us off the mark.”
The board will meet again at 5:30 p.m. Monday, June 20.