2015-09-06 / Front Page

Montrose Township moves forward on public safety building

By Jeanne Marcello
Staff Reporter

MONTROSE TWP. – Plans for Montrose Township’s new public safety/administration building are moving into the next phase, funding the project. Township officials propose to pay for the new building without raising taxes. They intend to issue bonds that would be paid back through the general fund over a period not to exceed 40 years.

Montrose Township Supervisor Mark Emmendorfer said, “If we do it now, when we have the resources from the landfill, we won’t have to raise taxes. Now is the time to do it.”

Both the Montrose Township Police Department and Fire Department currently operate out of old buildings that are in dire need of repair. The police department is working out of what was originally intended to be a temporary classroom, Emmendorfer said. He recalls the structure was five years old when they started using it; that was 15 years ago. The fire department is operating out of a pole building that was originally built in 1968.

When THA architects evaluated the two buildings, they concluded that it would cost approximately $3 million to upgrade the fire department to today’s standards, but they’d still have a structure that still has a 1968 pole barn at its core. Emmendorfer wanted to know what it would cost to build a new public safety building.

Emmendorfer said, “Our intent is to not spend more than $4.5 million. I know that’s a lot of money.” He explained that USDA Rural Development representatives recommended the township request $6 million in bonds to build the new public safety building. They recommended the higher amount in case there are unexpected costs since once the bond is approved, they can’t go back and ask for more. They can always issue a smaller bond.

Emmendorfer said they won’t have a clear picture of the actual cost of the project until after the bids come in from contractors.

The architectural firm of Gazall, Lewis & Associates is designing the structure. Emmendorfer explained that under USDA guidelines, the architect has to be 30-35 percent complete before the township can bring in a construction manager. He hopes to have a project manager on board by Oct. 1.

Emmendorfer hopes local contractors will bid on the various parts of the project; electrical, plumbing, masonry and so forth. He would like to see money staying within the community. Emmendorfer explained that the USDA will allow the township some latitude to hire who it wants. But if there’s a big price difference, the township has to justify their decision to the USDA to go with a higher bid.

Emmendorfer is hoping to start building in spring of 2016; and expects construction to take 9-11 months if all goes well.

“It’s important to me, as supervisor, to do what’s right for the community. I’m trying to look to the future. We believe Montrose is here to stay. If we do it now, when we have the resources from the landfill, we don’t have to raise taxes. Now is the time to do it,” Emmendorfer said.

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