By LeAnn R. Ralph
BOYCEVILLE — The Boyceville Community Fire District Board has selected Five Bugles Design as the architects for the new fire station.
The Boyceville fire board approved Five Bugles Design January 11 after holding meetings in closed sessions with the two finalists, Five Bugles Design and Cedar Corporation, in December and earlier in January.
All together, four architectural firms had submitted Requests for Proposals to design the new fire station that could cost anywhere from an estimated $1 million to $3 million.
The RFPs included Ratsch Engineering for $84,000; Five Bugles Design for $101,500; Cedar Corporation for $119,750; and Short Elliott Hendrickson for $174,000.
The RFPs were based on building a 13,000 square-foot fire station.
Members of the five-year planning and capital improvement committee rejected the RFPs from Ratsch Engineering and SEH, noting that they were not satisfied with answers to questions from the representative for Ratsch and that SEH was too expensive.
Members of the fire board did not elaborate at the January 11 meeting about why they believed Five Bugles Design to be the best choice.
“It took all of the meetings to get answers for (fire board) members,” said Rich Monn, chair of the Town of Stanton and Stanton’s representative on the fire board.
Monn also is chair of the fire district’s five-year planning and capital improvement committee.
The municipalities in the Boyceville Fire District are the Village of Boyceville, the Village of Wheeler and the Towns of Hay River, New Haven, Stanton, Tiffany, and Sherman.
Each town and village will be expected to pay for the new fire station based on the percentage of equalized value in the fire district.
The Boyceville fire board has not yet set a budget for the new fire station.
The Boyceville fire board also has not yet purchased land for the new fire station, although the fire board has considered property owned by the Village of Boyceville near the airport.
Presumably all of the municipalities in the fire district will have to approve building a new fire station before the project can proceed.
During the fall of 2015, members of the fire district board wondered if the district is required by state law to solicit bids to enter into a contract to design a new fire station.
Terry Dunst, an attorney with the law firm of Bakke Norman, sent an opinion to the fire district dated December 4, 2015.
According to Dunst’s written opinion, the Boyceville fire district is not required by state law to follow the bidding requirement to bid on contracts for professional services, but that “it is often a good idea. Public entities that spend public money are required to spend that money wisely, in the best interest of the public. To ensure that you are getting the best ‘bang for your buck’ — the best quality for a fair price, public bidding is often a very good way to make sure that money is spent wisely.”
Dunst also pointed out in his December 4, 2015, correspondence that it does not appear the fire district has the authority to enter into contracts.
“In reviewing the Boyceville Community Fire District agreement, I do not see where it has been given this authority by the member municipalities,” he wrote.
The Boyceville Community Fire District Board approved a motion January 10 on a vote of five “yes” to one “no” to accept the proposal from Five Bugles Design as the architects for a new fire station.
The motion was based on a “straw poll” taken at the last meeting when members of the fire board and the five-year planning committee met in closed session with Cedar Corporation.
Voting in favor of the motion were representatives for Boyceville, Hay River, New Haven, Stanton and Tiffany.
Charles Maves, representative for the Town of Sherman, voted “no” on the motion.
Maves did not discuss his reasons for voting “no.”
The Village of Wheeler did not have a representative at the meeting and, in fact, has not provided representation at the fire board meetings for several years.
A kick-off meeting with Five Bugles Design is scheduled for February 8 at 6:30 p.m.
The Boyceville Community Fire District Board meets next on February 15 immediately following a meeting of the Boyceville ambulance district scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
At the January 11 meeting, members of the fire board once again discussed the $1,500 in fire department invoices for Wheeler from 2015 that have not yet been paid.
Each of the invoices is for $500. One is for a fuel spill at the BP Bridge Stop in February of 2015. One is for a landing zone at the ball park in Wheeler in March of 2015; and one is for a carbon monoxide detector in August of 2015.
At the October meeting, fire board members agreed that Gilbert Krueger, chair of the fire district board and Boyceville village president, should contact the village’s attorney to see if the $1,500 for Wheeler could be added to the village’s fire department assessment.
An answer as to whether the amount could be added to Wheeler’s assessment was not yet available at the January 11 meeting.
Darlene Lee, clerk for the fire district, said she has been sending out invoices to the Village of Wheeler every month.
After the fire board discussed the issue in October, Lee said she had also emailed the invoices to Wheeler Village Board members.
The Boyceville fire district is set up so that if the fire department is called to a village or town in the fire district, it is the municipality’s responsibility to pay for the fire department run. It would then be up to the village or town to invoice the property owner.