Village officials see potential for savings, but question interest charges
Village of Fredonia officials were poised last week to approve a five-year contract with Dixon Engineering for water tower maintenance when some pesky contract details got in the way.
Dixon, a Michigan-based firm which specializes in the maintenance of municipal water towers, proposed taking over the care of the village’s 30,000-gallon tower for a total cost of $303,000 over five years.
Included in that cost would be the repainting of the interior and exterior of the spheroid tower. That job alone, which uses special protective coating, is expected to cost $170,000.
In conjunction with the painting work, the company would also relocate the cellular communication antennas currently located at the top of the tower.
Those antennas would be moved to a platform lower on the tower’s globe, making them less susceptible to being buffeted by the wind.
A competing firm expressed interest in a similar maintenance contract last year, suggesting it would charge $98,000 a year.
Trustee Don Dohrwardt spoke glowingly of the benefits of contracting with a maintenance firm, including making it much easier to budget during the length of the contract.
“We will be able to get a great deal of the necessary work done on the tower on a timely basis that we couldn’t do as part of the budget process,” Dohrwardt said.
Other trustees supported the maintenance plan, but balked at what appeared to be a $60,000 interest charge that was incorporated over the life of the Dixon contract.
“We could borrow the money locally at a lower rate than that,” Village President Chuck Lapicola said.
There was no representative of Dixon at the meeting to explain the interest charge.
A motion to approve the contract was withdrawn after the request for clarification on the interest charge was made.
Before tabling the vote, trustees deleted one item from the proposed contract.
The company said it would charge $6,500 to paint the village name in block lettering on the repainted tower, or $7,500 if the name is painted in script.
“As far off the road as the tower is, you really have to strain to read Fredonia on the tower,” Lapicola said.
Several trustees, however, said the name serves as a valuable identifier for the community.
Trustees voted 4-3 to eliminate the name from the repainted tower.
However, it was suggested Ozaukee High School’s colors — blue and gold — could be incorporated into the new color scheme of the tower.