THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
From Our Readers
Issue Date: April 18, 2019
I guess it comes as no surprise that the Marinette County Sheriff is again wanting an attack vehicle they call a BearCat after the last election. Officer and civilian safety is important but since they can borrow one from other counties the once a year (if ever) that one is needed makes it an expensive tool. The people pushing for it don't say how often we actually have needed one not just borrowed one in the past or predict how often we might need one in the future either. We hope they will never need one.
If the vehicle manufacturer has used 2003 and 2004 vehicles available that they can refurbish we know that new ones last about 13-14 years at most. I suspect a refurbished one won't last nearly as long as a new one. Any specialty vehicle will require expensive insurance, a place to park it, training for all the officers, maintenance, annual updates, etc. Older vehicles are often hard to get parts for even if they are refurbished. Expensive older vehicles tend to require expensive parts too. I doubt any local garage has parts in stock for 2003 and 2004 vehicles.
I have heard and read that the jail is often close to capacity at times and the soon to open juvenile facility only can accommodate 8 kids. It won't be long before an addition is needed to both places. Neither addition will be tax payer friendly. The county administrator is remodeling the old LEC (jail). He is sneaking money into the yearly budget even though no feasibility study has been done to determine if it is a good idea. The budget for tearing out the metal ($24,675) was blown by needing to replace a fire alarm panel and then he may need up to an additional $10,000 for removing jail cells on the 4th floor. That seems like a 50% overrun to me.
If the way the sheriff wants to pay for the attack vehicle is by running squads another year or two that is not really saving any money as those vehicles will require more repairs and be worth less when they are traded in or sold. Just an end run that might fool many people. There are no free lunches in the world any more.
The public really needs other things worse than an offensive police vehicle like cameras for all the squad cars and body cameras for all the officers. Maybe better equipment for the swat team? I'd like to see more officers on patrol long before an attack vehicle. Maybe fund stuff by enforcing speed limits better? Our county roads could use a lot more money spent on them too every year it seems.
Letter to the Editor:
To addressing the Peshtigo Times front page story about the Coleman School renovation last week, there is a correction and some omissions that need to be covered. At the April 1st special meeting of the Coleman School Board, they approved the bids for the school renovation project and brought the project back in line with the funds available. $13,800,000.00 from the referendum and the $591,000.00 the board added to that amount from fund 46, for a total of $14,391,000.00 and not the $13 million as stated in the paper. The PT reporter was not present during this meeting and must have received their information from other sources.
Omitted from the article, it was stated that the bids for the kitchen, HVAC, electrical, and plumbing came in high compared with the budgeted amount. The only example of the excessive bids given was the elementary kitchen which had a $195,000.00 budget number and the bid came in at $435,000.00. This prompted the change to the kitchen, it will stay right where it is now and not move to the back of the new cafeteria. The serving window in the existing space will move to the opposite side of the kitchen and only the equipment that absolutely needs to be replaced will be addressed. Also discussed, the locker rooms next to the gym, they will only be cleaned up a bit. The next change was the individual restrooms in the new kindergarten classrooms, now will be eliminated because of the high bids for plumbing. The art room in the high school was scheduled to be moved to the area of the present home economics to make room for the new tech area. Originally, it was felt absolutely necessary to keep it together with the other shops. Because of the cost overages the art room stays and the new tech area will go into the class room right under the library, completely across the entire High School. The issue of noise was questioned and the board feels there wouldn't be a problem with 3D printers or the vinyl cutters that are scheduled for that area. No one questioned how they would address any other existing equipment that may be available or new technology that will be developed in the future that could be a noise problem to the library or others in that area.
Originally Miron Construction had $750,000.00 built into the cost of the project for contingencies. This contingency money is normally used during the construction phase of the project to overcome unforeseen problems that come up, and they always do. All changes come with a cost, the Bray Architects representative indicated there will be additional costs coming to incorporate these alterations into the plans. The bad news is that contingencies money is now cut to $500,000.00 and we have just started the project.
After hearing of these changes, the board voted to accept all the bids at once. Other than the kitchen there was absolutely no discussion on the individual bids or there specifications at the meeting.
The gentleman from Miron on three occasions stated that it was his fault for these discrepancies and said he was responsible for them. There was only one board member critical of Miron's performance. Personally, I tried to make a statement but was abruptly cut off by the board president and told to talk to Miron after the meeting. Standing by the Miron representative, after the meeting, another board member came up and shook his hand and thanked him for doing a good job.
These are major changes, this letter is an attempt to correct the record to keep the tax payers of the district as informed as possible on this project.