The E 9-1-1 Communications Board has opened seven bids on construction of a new 300-foot tower off Highway 9, with the apparent low bid coming in at $544,544.
The board took no action Wednesday night, wanting its engineer to review the bids first. Joe Daniels Construction of Madison, Wisconsin submitted the apparent low bid, with Structural Tower of Becker, MInnesota submitting the second lowest bid of $578,531.
The engineering consultant had estimated the tower cost at $501,000. The project also includes running fiber cable to the location and building a new building at the base of the tower. The entire cost of the project should be somewhere around $1 million.
The cost will be paid through a ten-year bond, with the bond repaid using the 9-1-1 surcharge that is placed on every land line and cell phone account. Those surcharges raised around $230,000 this year. The E 9-1-1 consultant's estimate is that yearly bond repayments will cost around $130,000.
The E 9-1-1 Board heard comments Wednesday from KVIK/KNEI General Manager Les Askelson about the plan to leave the current 9-1-1 antenna location on the KVIK tower and move 1.5 miles to the new location. He said there had been a "lack of communication" by the E 9-1-1 Board about its plans to leave the current tower. Board Chairman Bill Nixon, the Decorah Police Chief, said the consulting engineer had recommended having a tower that was under the direct control of the E 9-1-1 Board.
Askelson said KVIK would have been willing to sell its tower to the E 9-1-1 Board if it had known this is what the board wanted. He also asked that if the E 9-1-1 Board allows other tenants on its new antenna, it would charge the same rate as KVIK, so the E 9-1-1 Board would not be using taxpayers' money to compete with a private business that pays taxes.
The E 9-1-1 Board is expected to meet again in one or two weeks to take final action on the tower construction bids.