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Common Council votes for new Pool
Demolition began Monday, staging scheduled for Oct. 10
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Demolition at the Fennimore Community Pool began Sept. 26. The Pool will be totally reconstructed and is scheduled to be ready for the 2017 season.

What will it cost?

The Common Council voted in December 2014 to commit no more than $1.5 million to the Pool project. Prior to last Tuesday night’s vote it discussed at length what impact spending approximately $2 million will have on the City’s taxpayers.

City Clerk/Treasurer Margaret Sprague told the Council taxpayers paid a combined mill rate of $1.34 for $100,000 of property value last December. When $2,040,000 of general obligation refunding bonds are considered, taxpayers will pay $1.50 for $100,000 of property value in 2017.

“This would get you the pool. Keep in mind that we have some other things going on, so there will be additional debt,” Sprague said.

Council President asked what the impact of the wastewater treatment plant reconstruction may be on a taxpayer. Sprague pointed out that is tied to a user rate, not taxes.

“It is still coming out of somebody’s spendable income. It doesn’t matter whether you want to call it a tax or a user rate, it is still spendable income that I am bringing home each week,” Streif said. “The bottom line is, if my sewer bill goes up $50 that is $50 less that I have to spend.”

Everything old will be new again.

The Fennimore Common Council voted unanimously during a special meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 20 to reconstruct the Fennimore Community Pool.

Portzen Construction of Madison was awarded the task. Joe Daniels Construction Company of Madison also submitted a bid.

The Council reviewed three bids from both Portzen Construction and Joe Daniels Construction. A base bid called for the construction of the new pool vessel adjacent to the existing pool. Alternate three called for the construction of a new pool vessel adjacent to the existing pool, plus the installation of a new gutter system. Alternate four called for total reconstruction.

Joe Daniels Construction submitted the low base bid, which in conjunction with additional fees totaled $1,819,944.35. Joe Daniels also submitted the low bid for alternate four, which totaled $1,905,813.55 when additional fees were considered.

Portzen Construction bid $1,814,500 for total reconstruction of the Pool. Joe Daniels Construction Company’s bid was $1,844,000. When additional fees are considered, including $212,391.85 in compensation for engineer Burbach Aquatics, the total project cost is estimated to be $2,059,891.85.

Alderperson Linda Stephenson asked why only two companies bid on the project.

“What it comes down to is they didn’t want to bid on another engineer’s project,” Fennimore Director of Public Works Dennis Biddick surmised.

Portzen Construction completed a pool in Cassville in 2015. It was their first pool project in Wisconsin.

“I was impressed with the workmanship not knowing going down there what I was going to run into because it was their first one in Wisconsin,” Mayor Ryan Boebel told the Council. “If anybody has seen it, they have a very nice pool.”

City Attorney Eileen Brownlee told the Council at the onset of the meeting it was obligated to accept the lowest responsible bid and approve that. Alderperson Sara Brodt in turn asked Brownlee what constituted “responsible.”

“Generally, it is going to mean a number of different things,” Brownlee answered. “It is going to mean, are they bondable? Did they produce their bid bond and are they going to be able to produce their performance and payment bonds?

“Beyond that, I don’t know if the Council established any criteria. We have no ordinances, we have no policies that define responsible bidder. So my thought is that, you know, generally speaking, people are presumed responsible unless you find that they are not responsible.”

Armed with that knowledge, the Council was tasked with choosing in their mind the best bid.

Alderperson Joe McBee asked if the Pool’s main vessel had been inspected. City Clerk/Treasurer Margaret Sprague pointed out an inspection was completed during an initial assessment by Burbach Aquatics.

“If we don’t know if the main part of the pool is going to be structurally sound for the next 20 or 25 years, then we will have another issue,” McBee said.

“If you reuse the existing pool, they will only tell you that it has a 25-year life. They won’t stretch it out beyond that,” Biddick said. “Although, we know there are already local pools around here built that are already a lot older than ours.

“A new pool is 50 years. The old basin part of our pool is 25 years. There is nothing saying that won’t last another 75 years.”

“There is nothing saying it will only last five years too,” McBee replied. “It is a shoot.”

Alderperson Gerald Bollant asked if the Pool’s present leak would be addressed in the base bid or alternative three.

“The leak we have now is in the piping around the outside of the pool,” Biddick answered. “No matter what we do, that will be replaced 100 percent.”

The Pool leaked 6,000 to 11,000 gallons of water daily during the 2016 season, after leaking approximately 16,000 gallons per day throughout the 2014 season and 18,000 gallons per day in 2013.

“Personally, I don’t like the idea of going with the base bid. I can’t sell that,” alderperson Jessie Strack said. “I would want [alternative] three or four.”

Boebel read an e-mail from alderperson Pete Adam, who was out of the country but returned to Fennimore prior to the conclusion of the meeting.

“After my brief review, if these options are what we are working from, my vote would be for the completely new structure, since the savings we were told about from reuse [of the existing pool] didn’t materialize,” Boebel read. “If I were told six months ago a 100 percent new pool of our design would cost two million dollars, I would have been in support of that solution.

“In addition, this all new pool will put us at a higher comfort level for the extended life of the entire structure and not put a potential burden on the community if future problems arise.”

Alderperson Linda Stephenson agreed.

“That is where I am leaning,” she said. “It is right around the two million dollar mark. If there is not that much difference in the price, let’s do it. It no doubt will cost more 25 years from now to have to turn around and go through this all over again.”

Boebel concurred with Strack.

“For what it is worth, I completely agree with you,” he said. “The base bid, my feeling is if we do the base bid, people are going to walk in and see nothing but the old pool and be like, ‘What just happened?’”

Ultimately, Strack made and Stephenson seconded a motion to accept the proposal from Portzen Construction.

Boebel told the Council Monday night Portzen Construction will begin staging at the Pool on Oct. 10. Project completion is scheduled for May 27.