The city is moving ahead with plans to build a new Public Works facility this year.

The Common Council on Tuesday, Feb. 13, authorized the city to award the construction contract to Kenneth F. Sullivan Co., whose bid of $7,544,300 was the lowest of seven received.

The council also authorized the city to borrow $8.45 million, which covers the cost of construction and includes a 5 percent contingency, along with other expenses unrelated to the construction project, including land and prep work for a compost site.

The city’s financial advisor, Joe Murray of Springsted, said the borrowing will be paid back by the tax levy.

“The total impact for the principal and interest for the public works facility will be $115 on $100,000 of equalized value,” he said. “That will stay level until 2038.”

The facility will be built on about 14 acres at 2415 County Hwy. A on the city’s east side. It will replace a century-old building on Fourth Street that is deteriorating and is no longer large enough to meet the public works department’s needs, said Public Works director Brett Hebert.

Alds. Sid Boersma (Dist. 1) and Kathleen Tass Johnson (Dist. 2) voted against both the borrowing and the construction contract because they felt the city can’t afford the new debt, while the rest of the council voted in favor.

Johnson told the Hub she recognizes the need for a new public works facility, but she can’t support it “at this time” because of the city’s existing debt burden.

“There are so many projects coming up for funding,” she said. “I am having a hard time in that there is no prioritization and the expectation we can fund them all. Our citizens are expected to prioritize what they can spend per year, and the city should also.”

The contract calls for Sullivan to build an 82,789 square-foot public works facility with an attached cold storage building and a salt storage outbuilding. The contract includes the installation of a rooftop solar panel array to provide electricity to the facility, at a cost of $217,300.

The highest bid was $8.28 million.

“I think the council’s support reflects the fact that we did our due diligence to make sure that we put out a good bid,” Hebert said. “We got excellent bids back, which I think is a testament to city staff putting together a good package to put out for bid.”

The project budget includes $75,000 to begin preparing a new city compost site and $86,000 to purchase less than an acre of land from William and Elizabeth Kirby at 2431 County Hwy. A and help with the couple’s relocation expenses. The land will be included in the site for the new facility.

Hebert said the contractor has the go-ahead to break ground April 1.

“It should be about a 270-day build, which will take us to the end of the year,” Hebert said.

Along with the practical limitations of the Fourth Street facility, the land it sits on is part of an area city officials would like to include in the riverfront redevelopment project along the Yahara River.

The first study to indicate the city needed a new facility was conducted in 2002, Hebert said.

In 2013, the city bought the 13.6 acres along County Hwy. A for the facility at a cost of $227,500. The site, chosen by a committee formed to look into planning for a new facility, is just east of a Stoughton Trailers property.

Last August, the city signed a deal to buy another 55 acres at the intersection of County A and Collins Road, next to where the new facility will be built, at a cost of $226,861. The money for that property, along with money for the new compost site and the Kirby property, is included in the $8.4 million the city is borrowing. About 10 of the 55 acres will be used to develop a new composting and wood storage site, with the remaining property to be used for future development.

Contact Bill Livick at bill.livick@wcinet.com