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Commissioners’ Report “Methodically moving forward...”

Fri, Oct 11th, 2002
Posted in Features

As the County Commissioners continue to push forward on the Courthouse Remodeling Project, County Board Chairman Duane Bakke took the opportunity at Tuesday’s meeting to present a comprehensive memo to board members outlining the steps the board would need to take to complete the project in the future.

The intention of the memo, entitled “Methodically moving forward”, was to look at what steps are involved in the remodeling process as well as to determine exactly where individual Commissioners stand in that process.

“I haven't heard any objections, so I assume we are moving forward on the total wrap-around with courts, and the revenue department concept.” Mr. Bakke wrote in his memo.

The “wrap around concept” includes both an east and west wing wrapped around the existing courtroom area. This addition would provide more office and operating space above ground and mechanical and storage space below ground. The revenue department concept involves a joint reception area for auditing and treasure functions.

Commissioner Marc Prestby disagreed with Bakke, “We haven’t agreed on the new (wrap-around) part. I understood we would receive a menu-like design, from which we could make orders.”

“We need clarification on that,” Bakke responded.

Bakke Memo

Bakke’s memo carefully outlined ten steps needed to complete the remodeling project. The outline includes final designs, cost estimates, bid information and bonding issues.“I want to make you aware that several motions are needed to complete this process. It's not just one motion to spend 4.5 million dollars.” explained Mr. Bakke.

At this week’s meeting, the Board agreed to advertise for bids to complete the unused space at the Fillmore County Office Building across town. That space is to become the future home of the county’s Information Systems Department.

According to Bakke’s memo, the board will soon begin work on the Capital Improvement Plan. This plan may determine the method of bonding to be used to fund the courthouse project.

In the mean time, the architects of Kane & Johnson have scheduled a meeting for next Friday with the department heads of the courthouse.

“Every department head needs to review the square footage of the floor plan to see how it all fits together,” suggested Chairman Bakke.

After the final courthouse design has been established and cost estimates are received, the Commissioners will then advertise for bids on the construction.

Bakke’s memo explained that the bid process could then result in construction, different designs, or rejection and scope change, which will start the bidding all over again.

Once the bids are finalized, the agreement to sell the bonds begins. The public response to the bonds could also have three different results: public support, a reverse referendum, or could result in a design change.

Only after all of these steps, including the sale of the bonds, are completed, will the construction and remodeling of the courthouse begin.

After reviewing the outline, Chairman Bakke reiterated that this is a step by step process that will take time. “Some steps may require five or six motions to complete,” said Mr. Bakke.

“We are methodical. But this is the way you get things done,” agreed Commissioner Randy Dahl.

In other action

•Commissioner Dahl reported on the future plans for the Fillmore County Airport. With federal funding available, a finalized airport layout plan includes a paved taxi way parallel to the runway.

Commissioner Dahl emphasized, “Much of the success of the airport is contributed to the work of Larry Tammel.” Mr. Tammel's efforts have also helped to place a computerized weather system at the airport at almost no cost to the county.

•The County has elected to not hold a Truth in Taxation hearing this year. The proposed levy increase is only 0.27 percent which is well below the allowable increase and a formal hearing is not required. For those who may have comments on the levy, Commissioner Helen Bicknese invites them to speak during the citizen input segment of the Commissioners' Meeting at the courthouse on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 9:30am.

•Sharon Serfling, from Public Health, presented several items for the Commissioners to consider. Among those items, the Board discussed dental services to those on Medical Assistance. “It has become more and more difficult to find dentists for those on the program,” said Serfling. The Board approved a contract with two local dentists.

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