Letters Mayor addresses city hall concerns

To the editor:

I would like to take the opportunity to address a couple of comments in relation to the need for a new city hall.

The first concerns the option of using the fire station or library as council chambers. Both of these facilities are smaller than the current council chambers. The beautiful fire and EMS station is used extensively by the community � as well it should � and scheduling council meetings would be difficult and would result in displacing many community service groups. The library could accommodate council on a temporary basis but their facilities are used extensively as well.

Telecasting council and school board meetings would require extensive and expensive rewiring and equipment modifications. These two locations being designed for other purposes are not suitable or feasible as a permanent location for council meetings.

The other comment I have heard is the comment that perhaps the city architectural firm, Millers Sellers and Heroux made a low cost estimate to remodel the current city hall and were then told to adjust it up by several times to justify a new city hall. This came up at a council meeting late last year and I called the president of the firm to investigate the allegation.

There was no truth to this accusation and, in fact, he mentioned that he would not jeopardize his firm's integrity or risk its license for something like that.

There were three remodeling options presented to the city. The low cost option did not address all of the code and ADA issues and came in at $1,108,450 in 2001. The best option was estimated to cost $1,756,500 and added some needed space. This option would address "most of the code and ADA requirements but there are still limitations since it is not possible to fix them all since the site restricts additions."

Earlier and current estimates all require more dollars than the option to purchase and remodel the Community First Bank.

If we are going to spend $1.8 million to renovate current city hall we need to address the current code and ADA requirements as well as plan for the future growth and development of the city over the next century. We can patch the current city hall up and still not adequately address all of the code and ADA issues nor have adequate room to grow over the next 75 years. We could wait another 10 years before building new. Construction costs will have risen and the possibility of having a building like Community First Bank available is slim.

It was the overwhelming majority opinion of council to relocate to Main Street and utilize a building that positions us to allow city staff to provide required city services to its citizens for the next 50 to 75 years in the most cost effective manner.


Roger L. Kozak


Existing City Hall is ample

To the editor:

Next Tuesday, Vermillion voters will have an opportunity to vote "FOR" or AGAINST" the city's proposal to purchase Community First Bank building for $1.1 million and spend up to $1.1 million more to remodel it for another city hall. Our mayor has bamboozled the majority of the council to support this proposal even though, get this, the city did NOT have the building professionally appraised. There is not a business in town that could spend that amount on a similar building and have it cash flow.

Our existing city hall has ample parking and the city owns a parking lot on the north side of National Street. Over the years, city hall has been upgraded by tuck pointing the bricks, the walls stuccoed, windows and doors replaced, heating and air conditioning improvements and the first floor is handicap accessible.

The square footage of the first and second floor of the city hall building and Community First Bank are the same. Our three ambulances and most of the fire trucks are now housed at the new fire station. This has freed up space so that all city hall offices could be on the first floor and handicap accessible. The training room at the new fire station is a good place for council meetings. The city has used that location several times.

Obviously, Community First is in a building too large for them and it is not the duty of the city to bail them out.

Paul M. Hasse


Delay will drive costs up for project

To the editor:

Vote YES on Nov. 18, 2003 for the Vermillion City Hall renovation/relocation project.

The present city hall was constructed in 1915 and does not meet the needs for city government, comply with the requirement for ADA (American Disabilities Act) for handicap accessibility, nor the State and Federal Confidentially Guidelines.

There has been much misinformation circulated and published about the cost of remodeling. The architectural projected cost is $50 per square foot for remodeling. That projected estimated remodeling cost is $862,963 without the school district relocation, NOT $1,100,000.

Delay only drives the cost up! We saw this with the Newcastle/Vermillion Missouri River Bridge project. It could have been completed in 1996 for $16,500,000. The project was delayed until 2001 at a cost of $22.4 million. At that, the bid came about $3 million under projected cost.

When the remodeling for the Vermillion City Hall renovation/relocation project is put out for competitive bid, then the true figure for remodeling will be established not just a project architectural cost factor. Other proposed locations would cost more. Main and High Street, $2,775,424, Crawford Road, $2,200,483, remodeling city hall, $2,574,890. Vote YES on Nov. 18, 2003.

The vote on Nov. 18, 2003 is FOR or AGAINST the purchase and remodeling of the Community First Bank for a total of $1,962,963. Vote yes, as delay only drives the cost up!

Dr. Jim Green

Co-chairman Newcastle/Vermillion Bridge project<</I>P> New City Hall not needed

To the editor:

A few years ago, when the city started discussing the need for a new fire station, city officials stated that one of the side benefits of a new station would be that the space of the existing fire station would be available for city office expansion, if necessary.

The three ambulances and most of the fire trucks are housed at the new station thus freeing about 6,200 square feet. Also, the city has not made a case for additional office space or a hiring binge.

In 2001, Millers Sellers and Heroux Architects Inc. did look at City Hall and came with an estimated cost. At that time they were told their estimate was not high enough so they redid the cost factor and gave the city a new estimated cost of three times what the original estimate was so then it looked like we would be better to build a new City Hall.

The city said they need more room. What about the city building on Duke Street for storing equipment?

They said the current City Hall is not handicap accessible. What about using the new fire station for meetings or the new library?

Remember that our city fathers like to make things cost as much as they can when they want new. There is no reason for the cost to remodel the existing City Hall to be 1.3 million.

Remember that Roger Kozak puts himself on every committee so he has full control over the city.

I, for one, think come next April the people of Vermillion need to look for a new Mayor!!!

Roger Kozak hasn't told you he wants to raise electricity rates to give the city more money.

I think it's time the tax payers say no.

Vote NO.

Joe Grause


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