The first of three scheduled open houses for Medina residents to ask questions about the proposed town hall/garage that would be built on Missouri Road was conducted July 28 at the current town hall.

In addition to the town board members and town Clerk Tammy Jordan, Devin Flanigan of Keller & Associates was in attendance to answer any questions.

The following are some of the questions and responses provided during the public meeting:

Q: Why doesn’t the town go to referendum for the facilities project to let the taxpayers decide?

A: Town Chairman Todd Weinberger said the special electors meeting would still allow the residents to decide if a new structure will be built similar to a referendum vote.

Weinberger said the residents would have the option to have a secret ballot or voice vote during the special meeting of the town electors.

It was also noted that if the project were put forward to a referendum vote, it would cost the town money to have a special election for the single item.

Flanigan added that the town board does not have the ability to make a decision about borrowing the amount of money necessary for the project.

Q: Is it necessary to have the facility as large as it is being proposed? What if in the future the town population decreases or contracts out for snowplowing and does not need as many garage bays?

A: Weinberger said according to Dane County Senior Planner Pam Andros, the town has been growing by an average of four homes per year since 2000 and does not expect to see the population decrease.

Town Patrolman Jim Hellenbrand added if the town grows, it might need more maintenance equipment such as snowplows and lawnmowers. He also said if the town would go with fewer bays in the new garage and later needed to add more, it could be more costly.

While it was mentioned Hellenbrand would eventually retire from his position, Weinberg countered by saying the town was building the garage for the town’s equipment, not for the patrolman.

Q: Who will represent the town to oversee the project?

A: Flanigan said every municipality is a bit different in determining who will have a certain level of authority over the project. Most will decide to have one representative that takes on overseeing the day-to-day and week-to-week progress of the facility project.

“Say, if they want to change a door knob, they have that authority to spend up to X amount of dollars,” the Keller representative said. “Any other decisions that go over that threshold ultimately have to come back to the board for the board to vote on because if you try to go to the board for every little thing, it typically doesn’t go well.”

Weinberger said he has several residents who have backgrounds in construction who he has in mind to oversee the day-to-day of the facilities project.

Q: What does the cost estimate included?

A: Flanigan said the proposed costs include building the new town hall/garage, site work, demolition and the remainder of the loan for the property purchase.

“There’s so many factors we’re looking at,” he said. “I like to error on the side of caution for municipal projects. Nobody wants to be surprised at the end of the day so I believe we brace for the worst.”

Flanigan said as the progress on the proposed new municipal building moves forward, the scope will be narrowed down and the cost will become more defined.

The overall project cost does not include any new furnishings for the building; Weinberger said the town could use the same furniture in the existing town hall and if more was needed, it could be obtained through UW Swap.

Q: Could the town generate income by selling excess land on Missouri Road and the existing town hall property?

A: Weinberger said it would be possible to sell some of the Missouri Road property the town purchased. He said the town may want to keep some land for future development but not all of it.

“I don’t think it should be the town’s business to own excess land,” the board chairman said.

Weinberger also said if the town was building a new facility on Missouri Road, it would not make sense for it to continue owning the current site of the town hall/garage on Highway 19.

Q: What type of cost difference could the town see if it “kicks the project down the road for two years?”

A: Flanigan said his crystal ball is a bit hazy but in his opinion prices for materials may stabilize but will not go back down to pre-COVID-19 numbers.

If this project had been completed a year ago, Flanigan guessed the overall costs would have been decreased by 10-20%.

“Right now, we’re having what I’m describing is COVID whiplash,” the Keller representative said. “The vendors drained all of their inventories so prices started to go up. The supply chain had a lot of issues… and there were product delays.”

Q: What is the timeline?

A: Flanigan said if the facility is approved, he would like to put the project out to bid during the early part of 2022 and break ground in spring.

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