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Colfax schedules meeting with A Breeze and architect for municipal building

By LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX  —  The Colfax Village Board is still worried about the municipal building drainage project.

In spite of assurances from Tony Eaton of A Breeze Construction that the project will be started right away this spring, and that the village will not have to pay 10 percent down on the $54,000 project cost, Colfax Village Board members and Rand Bates, director of public works, still expressed confusion about the scope of the work at the January 26 board meeting.

Scott Gunnufson, village president, noted that the village board earlier in the month had asked Lynn Niggemann, administrator-clerk-treasurer, to communicate their concerns to Eaton.

The project in Tower Park and in the back parking lot is intended to improve drainage away from the building to address water infiltration problems in the basement.

Niggemann sent a letter to  A Breeze Construction dated January 20 outlining the village board’s concerns, including whether the project in Tower Park will be finished by June 30 so the Colfax Woman’s Club can proceed with the Music in the Park concerts and the Colfax Public Library can hold the Summer Reading programs in the park.

Niggemann pointed out in her letter that the village is unable to accommodate a 10 percent down payment.

State statutes require the village to have funds available prior to the project’s start date, and the village does have the funds available, Niggemann wrote.

The village is prepared to pay 50 percent of the cost at the start of the project and the balance within 30 days of the project being completed and could also make interim payments during the 30-day construction period, but ultimately, state statute does not allow the village to pay for work that is not finished, she wrote.

Niggemann also noted the village’s previous problems with contractors not completing work on time, leaving the village with additional material cost increases.

In spite of assurances from Eaton that construction would start this past fall, the Colfax Village Board has been concerned about no work being done on the drainage project even though there was a stretch of mild fall weather.

Eaton responded to Niggemann’s letter with an e-mail message on January 25 with assurances that the Colfax project will be the first one on the list this spring and it will be finished by June 30.

Eaton also accepted the idea that the village would impose a fine of $500 per day for each day the project goes beyond the completion date and said all of the vendors and subcontractors had agreed to honor the 2015 prices they had quoted.

A 15 percent additional cost will be assessed to the village if unsuitable soils or other problems are encountered during the project, Eaton reiterated in his e-mail.


Bates pointed out to the village board that because so many changes have been made to the project proposed by A Breeze, he really has no idea just exactly what will be included in the work.

“I don’t even know what we’re doing anymore,” Bates said.

Niggemann agreed that while the intent of the project remains the same, the specific details have been a moving target.

Bates suggested a meeting with the Colfax Village Board’s property committee and Eaton, along with the architect from CBS Squared, Bob Sworski.

Village employees completed all of the work in Tower Park that was required, such as moving the gazebo, a week after the village board signed the agreement with A Breeze on October 12, but no work was done this fall, Bates said.

In addition, Bates said he has not seen a final site plan and has no idea if a catch basin will be installed in Tower Park or if the water will be drained to the storm sewer on Main Street.

Niggemann said she has had communication with Sworski but that he has not seen a final site plan either.

Gunnufson said he was under the impression the water would be drained to the back of the building.

“That got changed,” Bates said.

Eaton had indicated he could attend the village board’s February 22 meeting, Niggemann said.

Second contractor

Bates said a different contractor had come to look at the project the previous week but had said he would not do the work because of the handicapped accessibility ramp.

The contractor said with the ramp still there, he did not know how to remedy the drainage problem, Bates said.

The Colfax Village Board approved holding a public property committee meeting, with all village board members present, at 5:30 p.m. February 22 with Eaton and Sworski in attendance to discuss the plans for the municipal building drainage project.

A February 22 meeting will leave Eaton and Sworski a month to prepare for the meeting, and an hour-and-a-half should be a sufficient amount of time before the regular village board, said Mark Halpin, village trustee.

Other business

In other business, the Colfax Village Board approved an agreement with Anytime Fitness in Colfax for village employees for 2016.

Last year, the village paid a total of $851.97 for village employees to use Anytime Fitness.

If all employees took advantage of the program, Anytime Fitness would collect as much as $2,800 annually from the village, Niggemann said.

As part of the agreement, the village agrees to pay the sign-up fee and the monthly fee, as long as employees visit Anytime Fitness 12 times per month.

If the employees do not meet the goal of 12 times per month, the employee pays the monthly fee.

The goal is to encourage employees to stay in shape so they are less likely to injure themselves on the job.

Paying $851 is nothing compared to a worker’s compensation claim, Gunnufson noted.