Berndes Center HVAC project costs shock council

City Council
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

It appears that in order for the City of Monticello to replace the HVAC heating and cooling system inside the Berndes Center, it could cost around $161,000.

During the Feb. 4 Monticello City Council meeting, the council approved the lowest bid from Crawford Company out of Dubuque at $161,084. The city received three bids from out-of-town companies. The other two bids came in at $173,340 and $199,900.

“That’s a little bit of a shock,” expressed Mayor Brian Wolken of the bid prices.

It was assumed the replacement project could cost upwards of $190,000.

The council previously sought bids for the replacement project; however, the bids were not comparing apples to apples. So, the city hired an engineer to put a set of bid plans together for the project, meeting all current codes.

City Administrator Doug Herman informed the council that there might be areas where the project costs could be trimmed a bit that would not affect the scope of the project. He wouldn’t know more until meeting with the engineer and contractor on site.

“There is a $3,000 to $4,000 rough cost savings,” indicated Herman.

It seems the original HVAC system was installed inadequately, which is why it is in much need for replacement.

“A lot needs to be addressed with the 20-year-old system,” said Herman. “There are new code requirements.”

Due to the cost of the project, Parks and Rec cannot cover the replacement. The Parks and Rec budget has about $50,000 that could go toward the project, leaving them $110,000 short.

 They do have $55,000 proposed for FY 2021 for the purchase of a gator equipment vehicle.

“We’d need to come up with a way to make this work,” said Herman. “But we clearly need to do something.”

One option, Herman offered, would be for the council to increase its General Fund appropriation to Parks and Rec. Or, Parks and Rec could get a loan and pay it back so much a month.

“It’s awfully costly, but hopefully this will last us 20 years and not dealing with any issues or malfunctions,” said Council member Dave Goedken.

Council member Gary Feldmann asked how the city would be assured that this installation was done correctly, compared to the previous installation. Herman said there would be a final inspection and an engineer on site during the process.

 In other city business:

• The council appointed Gary “Butch” Pratt and Nick Sauser to the Planning and Zoning/Board of Adjustment.

• The council approved a $5,025 investment in Senior Dining for FY 2021.

• The council held a public hearing and approved the FY 2021maximum tax dollars to levied and collected. The proposed tax collections for the General Fund Levy and Employee Benefits Fund Levy total $1,486,590. This is 6.26 percent less than last year.

• The council approved the preliminary assessment plan and estimate of cost related to the 2020 E. Seventh Street Reconstruction Project.

Residents in the affected area will be assessed 100 percent for curb/gutter, driveway, approaches, and sidewalks.

“It’s the same rates as with N. Sycamore Street,” Herman said of the recently completed street reconstruction project.

While the council approved the assessment plan, Herman noted that doesn’t mean the council is obligated to carry out the project.

The three bid options ranged from $129,000 to $691,000.

The plan is to have Seventh Street open in time for the Fourth of July Parade.

Goedken commented that based on the estimates, it was a good idea for the city to remove this project from the Sycamore Street project.

A public hearing on the matter is set for Monday, Feb. 17 at 6 p.m.

• Herman informed the council that the former Medplast facility had been sold for use as a warehouse. He said there might also be some additional uses for other parts of the building.

“It’s good that it’s changed hands,” he said.


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