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NewsTribune photo/Lee Strubinger The new water treatment plant building rises on the north side of Princeton. A city commissioner on Monday questioned the cost of an adjacent office building, and expressed displeasure about Farnsworth Group saying it would bill the city to detail the costs.
PRINCETON — A Princeton commissioner is questioning costs of a room built in the office portion of the $17 million water treatment plant building under construction on the north side of town.
Within the past few Princeton City Council meetings, which have been relatively short, the routine process of paying bills has taken up a majority of the time. After presenting his portion of the bills during Monday night’s meeting, Commissioner Joel Quiram, Department of Public Properties and Utilities, voted ‘aye’ but passed on bills paid to Farnsworth Group in association with phase two of the water plant.
In correlation with that move, during a separate part of the meeting, Quiram talked about his recent tour at the construction site. He called it “the most impressive building for miles around,” but said he would much rather say that about a building built by private funds rather than with taxpayer money.
A portion of the building Quiram focused his comments on was a 745-square-foot room inside the office building attached to the plant. This room, he said he was told, will double as a command center in the event of a city emergency. The room is a concrete bunker, he said.
Quiram said he asked a Farnsworth consultant about the cost of the office building, including the brick and block work on other sides of the plant and the arched windows.
“In response,” Quiram said, “Farnsworth and Vissering Construction will require the city to pay $6,750 to answer these questions. They knew when coming up with this figure that the city wouldn’t pay it — and to pay for information that should be at our disposal is ludicrous. It seems they don’t want us to know the figures.”
He said he thinks the cost for this room is “likely as extravagant as the appearance of the water plant itself,” which is being paid with water rates and fees. “This is our water plant, and hopefully we can someday justify its size, extravagance and cost,” he said.
Kevin Hannel, project manager with Farnsworth, said the city has requested additional detailed breakdowns during upgrades, including actual construction amounts. Hannel said the company talked with the contractor to see if they would be willing to provide information on the additional costs to the plant, which, he said, is not a part of Vissering Construction’s scope within the contract. The additional money would cover the time it would take to figure those actual numbers out, he said.
Also Monday: * The council approved a resolution into the Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System Mutual Aid agreement.
* Commissioners approved a three-year mowing contract totaling $175,530 with Lucas Lawn Care to start this spring and end in fall 2015.
* Mayor Keith Cain proclaimed April as Fair Housing Month.
* Council approved an annual financial audit with Striegel-Knobloch & Co. LLC out of Bloomington, for a total cost not to exceed $24,500.
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