120617-star-news-mauston

Mauston City Council members converse and review the agenda before the meeting begins.

JAKE EKDAHL/Star-Times

A new Mauston fire station may cost more than initially anticipated. The Mauston City Council gave an update on progress to the new fire station at its meeting Nov. 28.

Originally, the cost of the fire station was anticipated to be about $2.3 million. But Mauston City Administrator Nathan Thiel believes the likely cost will actually range between $2.5-2.8 million. The new figures are 8 to 21 percent higher than the original estimate.

The city has made consistent efforts to keep costs down and is “trying to make it an efficient and effective space… we’re not building a Taj Mahal here,” Thiel said.

Finance Committee Chairman Dennis Emery voiced his agreement with Thiel.

“I believe they’ve done a real good job with that,” Emery said.

The city is hoping to get bids on the construction of the fire station in March.

“We feel that’s the optimal time of the year to get things out to bid,” Emery said. “You would be looking at a May or June construction start.”

Mauston Mayor Brian McGuire said the city is considering changing street signs for the fire station’s location on the corner of Milwaukee St. and Hickory St. so that firefighters would have “a straight route to State Street” in the event of a call.

Finance and Purchasing Committee report

Finance Committee Director Dennis Emery made a motion for the council to adopt the 2018 municipal budget, approve vouchers in the amount of $163,064.97, approve an ordinance eliminating the treasurer’s tax collection bond as authorized by state statute, and write off delinquent utility charges in the amount of $852.37. All motions were passed unanimously.

Thiel said the only change to the collection bond was the ambulance fee, which was recently increased. “We need to go with the fee that they set for now,” McGuire said “Our only recourse is to say, ‘no we’re not going to pay it’ and then we don’t have (ambulances)… That’s where we are right now.”

Point demerit system for bars enacted

Alderman Francis McCoy made a motion for the council to approve an ordinance establishing a point demerit system for liquor license holders in Mauston. The motion was approved unanimously.

Other business

Public Works Director Rob Nelson reported that snowplows were being prepared for the winter.

You can reach Jake Ekdahl on Twitter @JakeaEkdahl