By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — Although it was not a specific agenda item, the Colfax Village Board has approved hiring Cedar Corporation to conduct a space needs assessment for the offices of the village administrator and the Colfax Police Department.
Hiring Cedar Corporation to do the space needs assessment for $700 grew out of a discussion about the Colfax Municipal Building and the Colfax Public Library at the village board’s August 11 meeting.
At a joint meeting of the village board and the library board on August 4, members of both boards agreed to take the discussion of what to do about a library to a town hall community meeting to find out the opinions of area residents.
Dairy State Bank has offered to donate the lot next to the bank for a new library.
Before a town hall meeting can be held, the village board and the library board must figure out how much space would be needed for a library or for a multi-purpose building that would house the library, the clerk’s office and the police department — and how a library or a multi-purpose building might fit on the Dairy State lot.
Lisa Ludwig, director of the Colfax Public Library, attended the August 11 village board meeting to report that the library needs 10,000 square feet to adequately provide library services for the area.
Village board members said they did not know how much space would be needed for the administrator-clerk-treasurer’s office or for the police department.
Patrick Beilfuss and Charlie Jones, both of Cedar Corporation, happened to be attending the meeting on another matter and offered to do a space needs assessment of the village’s administrative offices and the police department.
State statutes require certain spaces and certain construction for the clerk’s office and the police department, Beilfuss noted.
Cedar Corporation has been in business long enough that the company has worked on many municipal buildings for many different municipalities, so the space needs assessment would not take very long to complete, he said.
Because of the footprint of the Dairy State Bank lot, a multi-purpose building would probably have to be two stories, said Scott Gunnufson, village president.
The bank lot does not have enough room for a one-story building with a police department and administrative offices on one side and a library on the other side, he added.
Before a recommendation could be made about how to construct a multi-purpose building on the lot, Cedar Corporation personnel would have to look at the total space needs and would have to consider parking as well as landscaping requirements to determine what would fit on the lot, Beilfuss said.
Beverly Schauer, village trustee, said she objected to the idea of building a new library because the taxpayers of the village cannot afford to build a library.
People who live in the village pay twice for the library already: once through the village tax levy and then again through the county tax levy, Schauer said.
Village residents do not pay taxes twice for the library, Ludwig said.
Village residents are exempt from paying county taxes for the library, she said, noting that both she and Ponto fill out paperwork every year for exempting village residents from paying county taxes for the library.
Years ago, village residents would have paid twice, but now there is an exemption and they only pay once for the library and are not taxed by the county for the library, she said.
Dunn County pays 100 percent of the cost for county residents who do not live in Colfax but use the Colfax Public Library.
People living outside of the village who use the library end up contributing more from county reimbursements to support the library than the residents of the village, Gunnufson said.
“Whether they live here (in Colfax) or not, they contribute in many different ways. We need to analyze the costs first before we can make a decision,” he said.
People living outside of Colfax generate more than half — 60 percent — of the Colfax Public Library’s circulation.
“How much money are we willing to spend to find out the answers we need?” asked Carey Davis, village trustee.
Cedar Corporation can do the space needs assessment for the village hall and the police department for $700, Beilfuss said.
“What comes after that? Another $700?” Davis asked.
Companies hoping to win the contract for designing a building would submit Requests for Proposals (RFPs) to the village, Gunnufson said.
Square footage totals would have to be established before asking for RFPs, he said.
The Requests for Proposals would provide information about how much it would cost to build a library or a multi-purpose building, Gunnufson noted.
Cedar Corporation could give a ballpark cost for a library and a multi-purpose building by looking at the space needs assessments and the available site, Jones said.
The village will need to weigh the pros and cons of moving the village offices and the library out of downtown, he said.
A free site that does not work as well because of space constraints or the configuration of the lot may not, in the long run, be as cost effective as a site better suited for the project that has to be purchased, Jones said.
The village is “planning for 50 years. Those are things we could help you look at. The library would be one cost. A community center with a library would be another cost. Weigh the impact of costs and take it to the public. Then get the RFPs,” Jones said.
“This is not an issue to take lightly, and I think it’s a good investment. We have a good relationship with Cedar Corporation. It equips us for a town hall meeting with facts and statistics,” Gunnufson said.
Cedar Corporation works on many projects that are grant eligible and projects that are inside Tax Increment Finance Districts, Jones said.
The building might not be eligible for TIF money, but the parking lot might be eligible, he said.
The Colfax Village Board unanimously approved a motion to pay Cedar Corporation $700 for a space needs assessment of the village hall and the police department.
Although setting the date for the town hall meeting was an agenda item for the August 11 meeting, the Colfax Village Board unanimously approved a motion to postpone setting a date until the August 25 meeting.
Requests for Proposals will be an agenda item at the August 25 meeting as well.
In other business, the Colfax Village Board:
• Approved a training request from Jackie Ponto, administrator-clerk-treasurer, for a chief executive’s workshop offered by the League of Wisconsin Municipalities on August 22 and August 23 in Eau Claire.
• Approved a training request from Valerie Henrichs and Adam Glass for an advanced EMT class.
• Approved a temporary Class “B” picnic license for the Colfax Firefighters’ Association for September 6 and 7 for the Colfax Firefighters’ Ball at the Colfax Fairgrounds.
• Approved a license for Pamela Moen, 705 University Avenue, to keep domesticated chickens. The application fee is $10.
• Approved a bartender operator’s license for Tina Nelson from July 1, 2014, to June 30, 2015.
• Approved a logo for the Village of Colfax created by Greendoor Graphics out of Eau Claire at a cost of $500. Gunnufson noted that the village had originally intended to purchase a modified version of the Colfax Sesquicentennial logo to use as the village’s logo but had been told that the village would never actually own the logo. By buying the logo from Greendoor, the village will be able use it in a variety of ways, such as on vehicles, uniforms and for letterhead and envelopes, he said.
• Approved a change order from Allen Johnson Construction LLC for the refreshment building at the Colfax Fairgrounds to install a two-foot overhang and one additional eight-foot by eight-foot sliding door in the amount of $680.
• Approved a motion to donate $50 to the Colfax Kiwanis to support the Twister Run on Saturday, September 6.
• Approved contracting with HydroDesigns for the cross connection inspections for residential, commercial and industrial. The cost will be about $11,000 per year. The state Department of Natural Resources is requiring the cross-connection inspections.