Colfax Municipal Building radiators: scrap iron or antiques?

By LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX —  Now that the auditorium of the Colfax Municipal Building has been painted, the restoration group would like to sell the old radiators for scrap iron or for antiques.

Joan Scharlau and Marian Scott, representing the Colfax Municipal Building Restoration Group, attended the Colfax Village Board’s March 25 meeting to talk about the radiators that are no longer used for heating the building.

The radiators have already been removed from the clerk’s office and the library, noted Jackie Ponto, administrator-clerk-treasurer.

The auditorium contains four large radiators and two medium-sized radiators, with two small units on the stair landing, Scharlau said.

Richard Johnson, village trustee, wondered if the radiators had any esthetic or historical value.

Scharlau and Scott both said that the old radiators have no historical value.

The remaining radiators are not ornate enough for historical value, Scott said.

One of the radiators in the clerk’s office was rather ornate, and the group is hoping to keep the decorative radiator for display, Scharlau said.

“The others are just plain,” she said.

Scharlau said the restoration group had been hoping to find a market for the radiators to either sell them for scrap iron or sell them as antiques to Dell Construction for historical reconstruction projects.

Public property

Chris Olson, village trustee, pointed out that in order to properly continue the discussion on the radiators, the village board needed to make a motion with a second to consider removing the radiators.

Following the appropriate motion, Chris Olson noted that under the municipal code, the radiators were public property and needed to be disposed of in a certain way that included a Class 2 notice published in the newspaper for advertising surplus items for sale.

Olson said there was no problem with removing the radiators but that a certain procedure must be followed for proper disposal.

The iron radiators are heavy, and since they were used to distribute steam heat, plumbing must also be removed.

Several board members noted that Rand Bates, director of public works, is a plumber, but Beverly Schauer, village trustee, said the village’s employees should not be expected to add removing the radiators to their job duties.

Scharlau and Scott said CMBRG would not pay for hiring someone, such as H&H Plumbing, to remove the radiators if the restoration group could not get the money for selling the radiators.

CMBRG was hoping that the village could donate the radiators to the group and that the group could sell them to generate some cash, Scharlau and Scott said.

CMBRG spent in the neighborhood of $100,000 on the municipal building energy efficiency project and also paid for painting the auditorium.

The village received a $180,000 energy efficiency grant as well to put toward the municipal building project.

Johnson suggested that Ponto should check to see if the village board could donate the radiators to CMBRG or if they would have to be sold as surplus.

The Colfax Village Board unanimously approved a motion to have the remaining radiators removed from the municipal building.

The Colfax Village Board also unanimously approved a motion to postpone making a decision on disposing of the radiators until the April 8 meeting.

According to a representative from Kadinger’s Auto Salvage out of Downing who answered the telephone on March 27, scrap iron is selling for around $210 a ton.

Municipal code

According to Chapter 4 of the Colfax municipal code, “whenever the fair market value of an item is more than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) and the Village Board has determined … that the item is surplus village property, the department head responsible for the items shall dispose of the property by: A. Donation to a nonprofit organization within the Village or to a governmental agency; or B. Public auction; or C. sale by sealed bid; or D. negotiated sale.”

Chapter 4 goes on to say, “No public auction or awarding of bids shall occur under this Chapter unless a description of the item to be sold and an advance notice of the time and place for such auction or bid submission is first published as a Class 2 notice in the official Village newspaper.”

Chapter 4 also stipulates that when the fair market value of an item is $500 or less, “the item shall be either disposed of [by donation to a nonprofit organization within the Village or to a governmental agency; public auction; sale by sealed bid; or negotiated sale] or destroyed.”

Other business

In other business, the Colfax Village Board:

• Approved a request from Jackie Ponto, administrator-clerk-treasurer, to attend the League of Wisconsin Municipalities Mutual Insurance policyholder conference in Pewaukee April 11 and 12.

• Accepted the resignation of Steve Boos as a 30-hour-per week EMT and general laborer. According to Boos’s letter of resignation, he has accepted a paramedic position in Minneapolis with a start date of March 25.

• Approved a motion to hire a 30-hour per week EMT and general laborer from the eligibility list of three candidates generated when the village board approved hiring Adam Vnuk. One candidate on the list turned down the previous position. Don Knutson, director of the Colfax Rescue Squad, said he had checked with the third candidate and had learned that he was still available.

• Approved an advanced life support agreement with Eau Claire Fire and Rescue. Eau Claire has a new fire chief and wanted a new agreement with the new chief’s name, Knutson said. Several village board members objected to signing an indefinite agreement and approved renewing the agreement for a one-year term. Knutson noted that the agreement has been in place for six or seven years and has been working well.

• Approved a motion to postpone indefinitely the agenda item related to Work Horse computer software for rescue squad billing. Work Horse is not appropriate for ambulance billing, Ponto said, noting that she did not yet have another recommendation for billing software. Invoicing for the rescue squad will be generated from the administrator-clerk-treasurer’s office beginning April 1, she said.

• Authorized a quit claim deed for Evergreen Cemetery as one of the steps necessary for the cemetery expansion. Chris Olson noted the Colfax Board of Education had approved the Certified Survey Map at the March 18 meeting. The land was deeded to the school district for use as a school forest with the stipulation that when it was no longer used for trees, it must revert to the village for use as a cemetery.

• Directed Ponto to contact Ayres Associates about a price for the Letters of Map Amendment for the Eighteen Mile Creek floodplain with eight property owners participating instead of nine property owners.