Animal bids cost

By Bob Balgemann
BELVIDERE – The lowest bid came in $282,300 higher than expected. Yet the Boone County Roads and Capital Improvements Committee still is hoping the new animal control services building will be constructed before year’s end.
Committee members voted 4-1 during a special meeting on Monday night, June 22, to negotiate with the low bidder to see if enough changes can be made to bring the project within the 796,000 budget.
Larson & Larson Builders Inc., Loves Park, submitted a base bid of $1,080,800 million, which was $18,200 lower than Rockford Structures Construction Company quote of $1,099,000 million.
County Administrator Ken Terrinoni will check with State’s Attorney Michelle Courier, who acts as county attorney, to see if the committee needs concurrence from the full county board, for the negotiations to begin.
Roads and Capital Improvements is one of seven standing committees of the county board and is comprised of five county board members.
Architect Mark Schmidt of Knapp, Schmidt Architects near Portage, Wis., listed negotiating with the low bidder as one of three options in the wake of bids coming in above the engineer’s estimate.
Other possibilities were rejecting the bids and keeping the building as is, and seeking additional funding so no downsizing would have to occur.
Committee member Kenny Freeman voted against the motion to negotiate, saying he thought it was in Boone County’s best interests for all bids to be rejected and new quotes sought. “I don’t want to play, ‘Let’s Make a Deal,'” he said.
Schmidt had some changes in mind and most were accepted by the committee as being feasible. Among them were:
Construct portions of the 3,680-square-foot building in phases; eliminate the animal receiving area, entry porch and space for about eight shelter dogs; decrease the amount of masonry veneer and replace it with steel siding; change roof materials from standing seam to asphalt shingles; eliminate vaulted lobby ceiling; and other suggestions from the contractor.
Donations could help
In addition, Knapp said donations to the project were possible when it came to furniture, cat care equipment and improvements to the dog park, such as fences and landscaping.
County board member Cathy Ward, who was in the audience, asked Schmidt if constructing the building in the original site, closer to Illinois 76, would save any money. He answered that not moving the location a short distance to the east would save about $20,000.
But he added, “That’s just off the top of my head.”
Ward said it was important to bring the project in at the amount that was promised to taxpayers last year. Voters approved a small tax increase in a referendum, with the project cost at that point being estimated at $800,000.
After explaining how some mistakes he made were partially responsible for the budget being exceeded, Schmidt said, “The plus side is we now have solid numbers instead of estimates.”
But committee member Karl Johnson, who asked how “we missed the budget by so much,” countered, “We shouldn’t have to go through the bid process to do that.”
Committee Chairman Brad Stark continued to allow comments from residents in the audience as the issue was being discussed among panel members.
Robert Christianson, who has followed the building project since it started more than one year ago, continued to call for the committee to take accountability for mistakes that were being made. “I’m not hearing that tonight,” he said. “You were in control.”
Stark said the project only was given to the committee in December 2014, adding, “We can only go so fast. We can’t force things.”
When Christianson tried to issue a retort, Stark interrupted him, saying, “I didn’t ask you to speak.”

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