LincolnBy Shelby R. Farrell


BOONE COUNTY – Boone County might finally break ground on a new animal services building, but the cost is still higher than it was originally estimated.

The Boone County Board of Trustees chose Rockford Structures to build the new shelter under an $870,800 construction contract, which was the cheapest out of five bids.

However, the original building estimate from 2014 was only $725,000.

“As we know, the bids came in higher than expected, so there were more months of delay, and the next set were still higher than we hoped they would be,” Trustee Cathy Ward said at the Dec. 16 Board of Trustees meeting.

“However, I believe we need to approve this bid and proceed. I don’t want any more delays. I really think we’ve had a lot of delays, and we’ve talked about it for at least the 14 years that I have been on the board, as well as even longer than that.”

Most of the board felt the same way, approving the contract with a 9-3 vote, and some members of the community have replied by saying, “Finally,” to the announcement on the Boone County Animal Services official Facebook page.

The building has needed an update since 2010 when the Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited the current Animal Services Building for several violations, according to an article by the Rockford Register Star.

After receiving the citations, the board discussed replacing the building for $450,000 or renovating it for $260,000. Chairman Bob Walberg said they fought over whether to replace the building or renovate it for years, and after deciding to replace the building, the fight over costs began.

After receiving a building estimate of $725,000 two years ago, Walberg said he asked for $800,000 to build the new animal shelter.

In November 2014, the public voted on a referendum that raised property taxes to raise money specifically to build the new shelter.

A building design was drawn out, and the Roads and Capital Improvements Committee received bids for the contract in June.

However, all of the bids for the building exceeded the expected $800,000 by more than $100,000. The board decided to redraw the plans in hopes of lowering the price, but the new bids still surpassed the $800,000.

The vote on the contract bid was almost delayed again when Trustee Brad Stark asked the board to postpone the decision to give him time to address concerns from community members during the public comment portion of the meeting, including concerns about the ambiguity in the meeting’s agenda and which committee addressed the bids before it went to the Board of Trustees.

However, the board members resolved the issues throughout the meeting and chose not to postpone the vote. Trustee Denny Ellingson voiced some of the concerns he has heard from his constituents, which mirrored what many of the board members said at the meeting.

“I think that their thoughts were that we needed to move forward with this and get it taken care of, and the more we can do to get this accomplished in a shorter rather than longer time frame the better off we are,” he said.

The new Animal Services Building will be located at 4546 Squaw Prairie Road in Belvidere, and Rockford Structures’s contract bid estimated finishing the project in 150 days.

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