Library expansion and waste facility topics at Council

March 10th, 2016


Library expansion at issue during Council

Library expansion, waste treatment services and the rejection of a sewage complaint were some of the ideas discussed at the Common Council meeting held March 1.
The Common Council discussed the probability of an expansion project in the works for Irvin. L. Young Library.
The Library Board Director Julie Caldwell and staff have been working toward an expansion of the library. Current facilities lack storage space, collection materials and programming space, the expansion aims to improve these issues.
Staff and library board members met with Troy Hoekstra of United Development Solutions (UDS) to discuss the possible library construction as part of a hotel development.
The Council moved onto considerations which included a presentation of a new library. A private/public partnership is being considered.
The estimate cost was $10 million. “Not something the library can handle, that’s a high number.” Clapper said.
The New Market Tax Credit is a program under the Community Renewal Tax Act of 2000. The act can assist non-income areas with new developments. The NTMC benefits the library because it will be returned to the city because the funding is from public and private entities.
“We will not be getting a new library any other way, we understand that, it is not like we think this is a certainty, we think this is our only possibly.” Lunsford said
Clapper noted the Platteville project is for the public library covering 25,000 square ft. The first seven years the library will rely on a lease payment and the Library Board will own a $7 million building.
Clapper indicated potential factors to consider which included the total cost of borrowing, cost of lease and the library location closer to UW-Whitewater.
“It is expected they will gift the library in Platteville, library stand alone does not fly, the only way would include a library is if it paid a library lease rate.” Clapper said.
Clapper cautioned the council to risk from the city side if it was given over at the end of seven years to cover risk exposure.
“It did not make sense to develop the part that was above ground with windows and such, what we really needed was a library of 26,000 square ft.” Library Director Stacey Lunsford said.
Chris Grady said it is cheaper to tear down the current library and build a new one than to build a new one at a different site.
Chris Grady questioned if the council is willing to listen to the proposal and for the council to agree.
“We need to be the most realistic, it is not that I am opposed to an open mind, I just don’t want to get to the point without any realistic questions to ask,” Goettl said.
Lunsford said if everything went well the deal could be put together in 18 months. “We could potentially have this up by early 2018.” Lunsford said.
The council will hold an organizational meeting on April 19th at UW-Whitewater.

High Strength Waste station proves problematic at Council
In other action on Tuesday, the Council discussed the costs of High Strength Waste (HSW) receiving station.
The 25,000 gallon tank would be built in addition to the Wastewater Utility Plant and it will allow waste to be disposed of in digesters.
The station will be capable of heating utility buildings and the gas emitted from the affects the $52,000 spent by the city on natural gas. The cost is estimated at $1,382,300 with annual savings at $164,000, according to the agenda submitted by the Common Council.
The plan to make the receiving station is in discussion however, there is no plan to determine how the digester will be built or managed.
HSW identifies waste streams higher than suspended solids, biochemical oxygen demand, total phosphorous, or ammonia nitrogen for the waste digester. .
“I don’t think we will be able to afford it, this is a good concept in terms of energy savings but I don’t think we have enough knowledge of this point.” Council President Patrick Signer said.
“Prior evaluation of the costs of the project. and potential payback, Baker Tilly has done a variety of work outside of the state, they are confident they will take the data they need.” Grady said.
Concerns about environmental factors including odor were brought up.
In discussions with Baker Tilly related to the previous projects done, they were responsible for Potawatomi as far as odor there have not been much concern about odor as the tank was covered.
Homeowner Jeff Knight proposed everyone to read the letters from BiTech and encouraged the council to protect against spills and odors.
The council voted to allow Baker Tilly, an advisory firm from Janesville, attend the next Common Council meeting and discuss assistance on the project.
A March 15th meeting is set of council approval.

In other action Tuesday:
-The Council rejected the sewage backup claim submitted made against the city per an insurance consultant

-The Council voted to meet April 19th at the University of Wisconsin Whitewater