The Wisconsin Dells finance committee voted to conditionally approve the construction of a roundabout at Highway 12 and Highway A at its Aug. 19 meeting, pending funding from the Dells school board.
The proposed roundabout is designed to increase safety and slow down drivers in what will be a pedestrian-dense area, which all committee members were in favor of. However, some expressed reservations about approving the funding at first, since the committee had not actually been presented with a task order.
“I think we’re on board with going forward, but I don’t know how we can approve what we haven’t seen,” Chairperson Brian Holzem said.
Alderman Mike Freel expressed concern that if approved, the city would be on the hook for the $1.8 million price tag if the school district backed out of its $750,000 contribution. However, city treasurer Karen Terry said that this proposal was based on expected figures from MSA Professional Services, and that the task order would reflect the engineering work should be done within budget parameters.
Public works director David Holzem said the committee needed to make a conclusive decision on funding the project, regardless of contingencies. He said that too much in the way of planning around other funding sources could lead to a significant loss of investment.
“If we start putting contingencies on moving forward because the school backs out or somebody else backs out, you’re going to have substantial dollars invested in doing this already,” Holzem said. “From a city perspective we felt it was very important to go with what we felt was the safer alternative.”
Ultimately, the committee voted to unanimously pass the measure, allowing the commencement of design work from MSA. However, the committee did stipulate that if the school district pulled funding, they would not be on the hook for the costs.
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The committee’s decision was ratified by the Dells common council later that night, also by a unanimous vote.
In other business, the finance committee:
Recommended the city purchase a new Dodge meter reading truck.
Approved money in the budget for an agreement with Alliant Energy, after a recommendation from the Public Works committee.
Approved a task order for MSA to begin work on utility and roadway improvements for the new high school building, allowing the firm to start hearing bids and working on design and construction.
Postponed discussion on a new public plaza potentially located on the 700 block of Elm St.