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Budget issues complicate Edgerton City Hall planning

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Stacy Vogel
November 29, 2009
— A few unexpected costs are driving up the estimate for a new Edgerton City Hall.

The construction estimate stands about $104,000 above the estimate used in the June referendum, partially because of soil problems at the site, Administrator Ramona Flanigan said. The city also is arguing with Alliant Energy over who should pay to remove power lines running across the site, a project that could add another $70,000.


Voters narrowly approved spending $1.2 million in June for a new City Hall on the site of a parking lot next to the existing building at 12 Albion St. A committee is working with Eppstein Uhen Architects and J.H. Findorff & Son, the construction manager, to design the building.


Soil testing done after the referendum showed worse conditions than expected, Flanigan said. The construction manager has increased the budget to reinforce the soil and pump water out of the soil.


The increase in the construction budget is part of the normal give-and-take process of designing a building, said Steve Klaven, senior project manager at Findorff. Other aspects might come in under budget or the designers will find a way to reduce expenses, he said. For example, the city could substitute stone with brick in some places.


“We always meet our client’s budget because that’s what our job is,” Klaven said. “They still get a good quality building with the same warranties.”


The cost to remove the Alliant power lines would put a further strain on the budget, Flanigan said.


The city knew early on it wanted to move power lines running across the parking lot but believed Alliant would pay for it, she said.


When the city moves utility poles for road projects, the utilities pay for it. But those poles, unlike the power lines, are in the street right-of-way.


The city attorney, Dale Pope, has said Alliant doesn’t have a legal obligation to pay for the lines’ removal, Flanigan said.


Alliant has offered cost estimates from $45,000 to $125,000 to move the power lines, Flanigan said. Its most recent estimate is $70,000. The city hopes it can work out a cost-sharing plan with the utility, she said.


But Alliant spokesman Scott Reigstad said that’s not possible. If Alliant picked up some of the costs, it would be forcing other customers to pay for the Edgerton project, he said.


The city could decide to put the building on a different part of the site to avoid the power lines all together, Flanigan said.


There’s also a chance the state could pay to move the power lines. The city has applied for a brownfield grant for soil remediation, and removal of power lines is an eligible expense. The city should find out by the end of the year if it’s receiving the grant and, if so, how much it will receive, Flanigan said.


The city hopes to begin construction by May and move into the new facility in fall 2010, she said.



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