ROGERS CITY - Presque Isle County commissioners approved two contracts Wednesday that will bring the county another step closer to getting a renovated courthouse.
The county will spend $160,000 for architectural drawings made by U.P. Engineers & Architects for a renovated courthouse. County officials are considering tearing down the original courthouse, which dates to 1883, and adding on to a much newer addition to replace it. Jake Guter, a project manager with the architectural firm, told commissioners the time to start the design phase for the project is now.
"Without going into all the details, the basics are it takes a certain period of time to do all the documents, and then we have to bid the project," he said. "And we're starting to push into the time frame of where it's going to be more difficult to get the addition enclosed before winter weather gets in and we can work inside, so it's obviously our recommendation to proceed as soon as we can with the design portion and get that going."
Board Chairman Carl Altman said the architectural firm gave county officials a timeline of how the project could proceed if commissioners elect to go forward.
"The important thing we have to consider is, once we get these architectural drawings done and ... got it bid, we still are not under any obligation to continue the project until we investigate how it's going to be financed," he said.
In the meantime, county officials will look at financing capabilities to determine how, and if, the county can proceed with the project, Altman said.
"We have made the commitment that we are not going to raise a millage to do this, and we think we can do it and still stay in the budget that we have as far as revenue that we generate from taxes," he said.
Commissioner Kris Sorgenfrei made the motion to approve the contract, and Commissioner Steve Lang seconded, adding the county needs a better understanding of what the project will cost before it can decide whether to move ahead. They currently have an estimate, and the drawings, estimates and bids will give them the information they need.
Commissioners also approved entering into a contract with Meridian Contracting for estimating the cost of the project. The cost of making these estimations is not to exceed $15,000. The county will enter into both contracts pending review from the county prosecuting attorney's office, Altman said.
In other business:
* county surveyor Norm Quaine gave commissioners an update on remonumentation, or re-establishing survey points, within the county. So far, 1,217 government corners are set, with 1,246 to go, he said. Commissioners approved signing three contracts for three different surveying firms to complete work this year. Surveyors will focus on Metz Township this year, Quaine said.
* commissioners bought a plaque for Frank Glentz, thanking him for his 35 years of service to the county. Glentz maintained the courthouse and grounds, and Commissioner Mike Darga said he went "beyond and beyond and beyond" his duties for the job. Commissioners also voted to offer a job as the head of maintenance to Matthew Schalk after going through 60 applications for the position.
* County Clerk Ann Marie Main recommended, and commissioners approved, a bid for $2,366.42 from Eagle Flag of America for flags for the graves of veterans.
* commissioners approved spending $404.78 for a battery backup system for the county offices' phone system.