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No. The Village is not required to hold a referendum since much of the purpose of this project is for public works.
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The proposed construction will replace an outdated and unsuitable main building including the public works garage. It will replace a collection of cold storage outbuildings and allow all emergency response vehicles and equipment to be stored in a minimally heated space. There is no space in the current facility to create separation between the equipment bay and machinery for metal working such as welders, band saw, bearing press, lathe, etc. which are safety issues. Existing buildings have poor insulation, inadequate HVAC equipment, and poor security features, allowing for unrestricted and unauthorized access. Staff labor is redirected to building maintenance and emergency response is hampered by cramped conditions and time lost, particularly for winter operations. The proposed project will also combine park operations offices and equipment with other Village administration and equipment at one site.
The first Municipal Building(s) at 5500 Schofield Avenue date back to 1956. As the Town and Village have grown over 60+ years, the main building, garage, and the site have been renovated and remodeled about every 10 years. More recently the Village has struggled to meet changing needs for technology, energy efficiency, and building security. The Village retained Kueny Architects of Pleasant Prairie, WI, in 2015 to conduct a condition assessment of the Municipal Buildings at all sites including Public Safety and Parks. Kueny’s recommendation was to REPLACE the existing administrative offices and public works garages, combining also with parks administration, at a central site. Major points include:
Consider that Weston is the second largest municipality in Marathon County with a current population of just over 15,000 expected to increase to over 22,000 by 2040, representing half of the expected growth in Marathon County over the next 20 years. A modern facility to serve the next generation…and beyond…is needed.
Yes. The Village, with assistance from its architects and engineers, determined renovation of the existing buildings and site could be considered, but renovation would not resolve spatial issues and ADA accessibility issues throughout the building. Spatial issues include locations, layout, and security of offices for the present and for future needs. ADA accessibility issues apply to restrooms and to other areas of the building. Other challenges are the condition of the current electrical system, heating and ventilation deficiencies, and undersized plumbing. (See “Facilities Evaluation” page)
The current estimated project cost is $16.6 M. The building itself accounts for $14.4 M of this cost. The land purchase, which was not in the original project estimates, accounts for $1.0M of the total project. The balance of $1.2 M is in site preparation, shop equipment, architect’s fees, furniture, and contingencies.
Building costs change over time. The original estimate was made 4 years ago. The construction industry uses a tool called the RS Means Index to monitor building cost fluctuations over time. According to the RS Means Index, a building project estimated at $12.5 M in July of 2016 would now be approximately $14.4 M in January of 2020. The Village also purchased the new property on Camp Phillips Rd in the spring of 2020, adding $ 1 M to the project total.
It is estimated this project will increase the tax rate by an average of $0.86 per $1,000 of assessed property valuation over the 20-year repayment term. The estimated debt for this project will increase the annual property tax for a home assessed at $150,000* by an average of $129.71 during this 20-year term ($10.81 per month). For a $300,000 home the increased average annual property tax over the 20-year term is estimated to be $259.41 annually ($21.62 per month).
The actual tax rate for this debt will vary year by year based on the final project cost repayment schedule for the bonds, fluctuations in interest rates based on market conditions, and Village growth rate.
Estimated Financing Plan Tax Impact
*Single-family home statistics in Weston (Per Village Assessment records as of 12/07/2020)
Average assessed value is $158,800. Median assessed value is $149,700
This project is one of many the Village needs to consider as it plans for continuing to provide services to the taxpayers. The condition of our facilities impacts our delivery of services and ultimately the value of your property.
If the building project is not done there certainly would be less money borrowed in total for capital projects – those that replace deteriorated assets like buildings, streets, bridges, sidewalks, etc. However, it is not realistic to think these assets will not require replacement over time (just as a homeowner must replace things like their roof, driveway, plumbing, heating, air conditioning, or other parts of their property that have a finite useful life). Deferring a project does not eliminate the need, it only kicks the can down the road and makes it more costly in the future.
So, the answer to the question is, sure, the Village portion of property taxes for debt would remain lower for some time, but the need for a new facility does not go away and future Village residents will pay more.
As the Village and the architect proceeded with the preliminary design on the current site, it became apparent construction on the existing site would leave no room for future expansion. Rather than attempt to acquire additional property adjacent to the current site that was not for sale, the Village observed the former G&B Produce site at 4707 Camp Phillips Road was on the market and purchased the property. The new site gives the Village 13 acres for a building project vs. only about 8 acres at the current site and is still centrally located.
Another benefit of having a new site is having no interruption of day-to-day operations during construction. If building were to take place on the existing site, public works would have lost its garages and mechanic bays during the construction and would have had to temporarily locate at the Ryan Street yard waste site. This would have required additional cost for improvements to the garage at Ryan Street as a temporary base of operations for Public Works and created operational inefficiencies during the construction.
The existing site and buildings will eventually be sold. That could be in their “as-is” condition or with the buildings demolished and the site prepared for a new development.
Comparison is under construction.
Energy saving and conservation capabilities have improved greatly over the past 60 years. A new building will include cost-effective technologies for HVAC along with modern controls and insulation, for the Village’s situation. Modern (LED) lighting systems and controls will contribute to a much more energy efficient building.
With unknown developments for the future of alternative energies, the building design will include provisions to add solar collectors either at the time of construction or later. A major hurdle to overcome with solar power is finding a cost-effective method of storing the generated electricity.
Sustainable Design Upgrades to be incorporated in the new building include:
•Roof Ready for Solar Panels - Future
•Energy recovery units on ventilation equipment
•Super-insulation of building envelope
•Sun shading devices for occupied spaces
•Use of natural light
•High efficiency motors
•Minimize exterior heat absorption (high reflectance low emissive)
•Low E double glazed windows
•Daylight & Views
•Lighting controls (occupancy sensors)
•High efficiency LED lighting
• Waste Oil Heaters
The Village must follow public bidding law for this project. This requires advertising for bids and award to the lowest responsible bidder. Qualified local companies will be given the same ability to bid as others from outside the area. A project such as this will be awarded to a general contractor who then, usually, hires other companies (sub-contractors) for specialty trade work such as plumbing, HVAC, electrical, site work, etc. The general contractor or any of the sub-contractors may well be locally based.
Restricting the ability to bid on the work to local contractors could increase project costs by limiting competition and is also not legal.
Replacement of the current Municipal Facility at 5500 Schofield Avenue has been considered since 1999, just 3 years following the Village’s incorporation. The original facilities were built at a time (1956) when the Village’s population was under 3,000. Consider that Weston is now the second largest municipality in Marathon County with a current population of just over 15,000 expected to increase to over 22,000 by 2040, representing half of the expected growth in Marathon County over the next 20 years. The Village has outgrown its “home.” A modern facility that can serve Village taxpayers effectively and efficiently for the next generation…and beyond…is needed.
The current facility creates inefficiencies in the use of taxpayer dollars such as:
The current building poses safety concerns in today’s world where control of entry by non-employees and multiple exit options for occupants have become necessities.
Attempting to sink millions of dollars into the existing facility is not the answer.
There is a consensus opinion among the members of the Building Committee that a new facility is needed. On December 9, 2020, the Committee unanimously approved forwarding the recommendation to proceed with completing design of a new municipal facility to the Village Board. The design and bidding documents are to include some alternate bid items to consider upon opening of bids.
There are still details to determine and more public outreach to follow. The goal is to have a facility that allows Village staff to serve the taxpayers of the Village of Weston effectively by working more efficiently.
Building to Serve.