Village of Sublette tables motion to approve new maintenance building

SUBLETTE — Failing to get a second to a motion to approve a bid from Phalen Steel for building a new maintenance building, the Village of Sublette Board of Trustees voted to table moving forward with the bids until next month.

The Sublette Village Board met on Aug. 13 with all board members present. Sublette Village President Michael Vaessen told the board that two bids for the new maintenance building were opened in early August. Of the two bids, Phalen Steel of Mendota, came in the lowest at a cost of $379,855. The second bid came in around $497,000.

Sublette Village Trustee Brian Wilson made a motion to approve the bid from Phalen Steel.

Vaessen told the board that local subcontractors were lined up if the bid was approved.

Sublette Village Trustee Jerry Leffelman suggested that the village could maybe save some money by redesigning the building and making the building smaller.

Vaessen told the board he had put a lot of time and energy into researching the different options for the village. He said if the village builds a steel frame building, then that building could last 100 years, as opposed to a wood frame building.

Sublette Village Trustee Laura Jackson said she is hesitant because she hasn’t seen the research on the different options, and made a motion to table voting on the bids until next month.

“I want to see everything,” Jackson said.

Leffelman said that people are talking that the village is nuts to spend half million dollars on a building that rarely gets used.

Vaessen said there is a trend these days toward shrinking government and consolidating governmental bodies. He talked about the possibility that one day, many of the townships around Sublette could consolidate with the village to form one taxing body.

Doug Phalen, of Phalen Steel, said that many towns would kill for what Sublette is planning. He said the building is designed and priced to be able to double the size of the building if expansion is ever needed. Phalen said he has never seen a city project make this much sense.

He added that Phalen Steel has done three designs for the village over the past few years on this proposed maintenance building.

Leffelman said that word is out in the village that the board is spending too much money. He suggested putting a rubber roof on the current maintenance building and that it should help the building last another 20 years.

Vaessen said that maybe he’s taking this too personally and said it seems like the board doesn’t trust him. He added that he has been working on making this new maintenance building a reality for some time, and that going forward, someone else will have to spearhead it. He added he will support whatever plan is decided on for the building.

Vaessen asked for a second on Wilson’s motion to approve the bid from Phalen Steel. Lacking a second, the motion failed. Jackson made a motion to table the decision on the bids for one month. The motion was seconded and with a voice vote, the motion was approved.

Later in the meeting, Jackson was made chairman of the Building and Property Committee.

Vaessen also told the board that the roof on the current maintenance building is leaking water.

In other board news:

• Sublette Village Trustee Julie Kessel was appointed Village President Protem. This position is in case something was to happen to Vaessen, or if he is not able to make a meeting. Vaessen said this position usually goes to the person with the highest seniority. Kessel had served eight years on the village board before taking some time off the board, leaving her with the most seniority.

• The board approved the $5,000 to move and take over the Sublette Business Association sign. The cost included updating the computer software. The sign will be moved to where the water building is located.

• The board also tabled any action on the bids received for the three-year maintenance contract. Kessel said the board received one bid on the contract. She added that others have expressed interest in possibly splitting the contract up.

The next Sublette Village Board meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 10, in the Ellice Dinges Center.