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Town ready to accept bids for facility

August 18, 2010 | 07:36 AM
Town of Walworth —Hopes are high that construction can begin on the new Town Hall by the beginning of next month.

The bids are in, the community approved the project and there is an accepted offer for the old Town Hall.

Warren Hansen, the project's architect, said the town likely will accept the low bid submitted by Fischel Construction, Madison.

The bid won't formally be approved until the town takes possession of the seven acres of land, which has been donated by Kikkomann's Food.

Town Chairman Joe Abell said he anticipates the title transfer to occur next week.

Hansen said the bid came in at $668,000, but he hopes to remove some line items and reduce the total cost to $650,000.

During the April 13 annual town meeting, residents overwhelmingly approved spending up to $740,000 to build the new facility on Brick Church Road.

The $740,000 price tag includes a 10-percent contingency in case the project goes over budget.

"It's still within the budget and I plan on staying within the budget," Abell said.

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Supervisor Larry Austin said the town is applying for a low-interest loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

If the town doesn't receive that loan, Austin anticipates securing a low-interest loan for the building.

"We are getting competitive rates from local banks," Austin said.

Austin, who works for Walworth State Bank, said he won't vote on the bank that receives the loan to avoid any conflict of interest.

During the Town Hall meeting, officials said they hoped to receive an aggressive bid for the project. However, that turned out not to be the case.

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"I didn't feel like we did," Hansen said.

Part of the cost for the facility will be covered by the sale of the old Town Hall.

The board also has an accepted offer of $200,000 for the current Town Hall with a buyer who knows the closing may take awhile. Originally, town officials said they would sell the old building for that amount.

Abell said the land likely will be annexed into the village of Walworth.

If everything goes well, Abell said he hopes to open the doors to the new Town Hall in either February or March.

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About the new building

The new facility will be able to seat about 85 people, which is about three times as many as the current building can handle.

A salt shed will allow the town to store its own supply throughout the winter. Currently, the town purchases its salt from the county, which has switched to sand during previous winters.

In April, Hansen said the site will provide opportunities for future growth. There will be garage bays for town vehicles and there is room to add more garage bays.

Why build?

Officials also said the old facility had cramped quarters, inadequate storage space and no room to grow.

The town was borrowing barns to store their vehicles during off seasons.

There also isn't enough office space and the old building as one office that is shared by the building inspector, clerk, treasurer and town chairman.

Because of space issues, the town had to get rid of a compost site, which it will bring back with the new building.

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