March 17th, 2015
The Jefferson County Board approved a proposal Tuesday to begin construction of two new satellite facilities in Lake Mills and Concord.
The Lake Mills shop will be built on county-owned land at the interchange of Interstate 94 and State Highway 89, while the Concord facility will be built on the site of an existing satellite shop at the interchange of I-94 and County Highway F.
The new facilities will be funded by general obligation bonds, which were allotted $17.89 million in Jefferson County’s 2014 budget. Funds will used in the construction of the new main highway shop in Jefferson, the two satellite shops, and $950,000 in remediation costs at the existing Concord site.
The Highway and Infrastructure committees had approved a $1.2 million proposal last week, but the staff was able to further reduce costs.
The updated and approved proposal calls for two 12,500-square-foot buildings at a cost of $500,000 each, which is a $250,000 reduction from the initial estimate. The building costs include the base cost, $45,000 for the construction of a unisex restroom and $15,000 for a private well and septic system.
“Based on feedback we received from staff, we looked for an opportunity to do better,” Jefferson County Administrator Ben Wehmeier said.
Satellite facilities are utilized by the county to store salt, snow plows and other emergency traffic control devices, among other things. The county’s Highway Department currently owns and operates out of five satellite facilities in Jefferson County, located in Ixonia, Palmyra, Lake Mills, Waterloo and Concord.
The Waterloo, Ixonia, and Palymyra sites were all constructed in the 1940’s or 1950’s, and Highway Commissioner Bill Kern told the board that all of the county’s facilities have some aspect in very poor condition. These issues range from not having salt storage or heating to severely deteriorating buildings. The Palymyra site has largely been abandoned.
The county intends to sell or demolish the buildings and sell the land at all of the current locations except for Concord.
The need for new satellite facilities stems primarily from the concern that a reduction in critical response times during winter emergencies is needed, Kern said. He explained that the current facilities are in “very inefficient spots,” and he hopes that the new locations at Lake Mills and Concord will drastically cut initial snow plow response time by 30-45 minutes.
Additionally, Kern and Wehmeier estimated that the Concord site will save the county $44,000 in operational costs based on the reductions in snow plow travel time and project and maintenance costs. The Lake Mills facility was estimated to save $28,000 in the same areas.
“These facilities would offer improved emergency response and a secure site for all county operations,” Kern stated. “These aren’t numbers we make up…it’s pretty easy to look at how they add up.”
In other business at Tuesday’s meeting, the board:
- Approved spending for an upgrade to the county’s public safety and dispatch radio equipment.
- Proclaimed March 13th as K-9 Veterans Day.
- Proclaimed April to be recognized as Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month.
- Memorialized longtime board member Kathleen Groskopf and extended sympathies to members of her family in attendance.