The Lake Hallie Village Board hired architecture and engineering firm Cedar Corporation Tuesday night to engineer the public safety building project.

The board received  bids last week from Short Elliott Hendrickson of Chippewa Falls, Cedar Corporation from Menomonie and Angus-Young Associates, based in Janesville.

The board reviewed the bids and scored them each on a 100-point scale for qualifications, previous experience, project personnel and cost.

“They’re so similar; it’s like splitting hairs,” board member Wayne Walkoviak said of the bids.

The board agreed to hire a firm with local ties and additionally agreed that Angus-Young’s bid was too high.

Angus-Young came in at $254,700 as the highest bid and SEH came in as the lowest at $199,880. Although Cedar Corporation’s bid was at $217,450, the cost is a lump sum. So the cost will not change.

Cedar Corporation  included all costs in the total with the exception of septic and its figure provided the maximum number of hours to be worked. SEH cited projected costs, including septic, in the bid, but not in the total cost.

Board member Mark Perry said by working with a lump sum, the board wouldn’t have to worry about scheduling and overshooting the total cost.

Pete Lehmann was the only board member to oppose approving Cedar Corporation’s bid. He said the board has already built a longstanding relationship with SEH.

He said that because the board did a sufficient job of pre-planning, the total cost to SEH could have been lower than the proposed $199,000, specifically in labor cost.

“With a lump sum, there’s no crossover with risk to the taxpayers, but likewise there isn’t any advantage as we maintain cost of the project,” Lehmann said.

“It’s which way you want to hedge your bets,” he said.

The board paid SEH to  design the project, which Cedar Corporation will adopt.

“Since we paid for the design, we own the design,” Lehmann said.

Board President John Neihart said the board made a big jump with the hiring of Cedar Corporation.

Neihart said the firm will complete the official plans for the entire building, which will then be released for construction bids.

“Because it’s a building project, it must go to bid by Wisconsin law,” he said.

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