On Tuesday, the Marathon City Council voted to approve Pedro Falcon Construction’s bid for the new city hall. The cost came in at $4,376,514 and that includes about $80,000 of “extras.”

“They quoted us a very reasonable amount for laying thin-set tile instead of industrial carpet and they will also construct the building pad,” said City Manager Mike Puto. The city had originally asked the DOT contractor doing work on both ends of town to pour the foundation, but upon legal advice decided to have Pedro Falcon Construction do it instead.

“We want to keep the entire responsibility with the contractor and avoid finger-pointing in the future if something goes wrong,” said Public Works director Carlos Solis.

The next step will be to hire a temporary construction manager. The city received nine bids from interested persons and is in the process of reviewing them.

“Once we rank them, then we’ll negotiate a fee,” said Puto.

The vote to approve the contract was a watershed moment in the city’s history. When city hall staff moved into the “temporary” trailers almost 10 years ago, no one imagined it would be so semi-permanent. Still, Vice Mayor Chris Bull asked the council to consider delaying the vote because the resolution was added to the city agenda at the last minute. Mayor Dick Ramsay was for immediate action.

“I am concerned about getting out of those trailers. We have total public support and we’ve all had enough. I want to make a motion to accept Pedro Falcon tonight, now, and make a proclamation that we are not going to play games anymore,” Ramsay said, then addressing the city staff said, “Start greasing those trailers and get them ready to roll.”

Marathon resident Bruce Schmitt who often appears before the council to remonstrate them, approved of the bid.

“I want to take this opportunity to congratulate and thank this city council for getting us to this point. Your hard work and willingness to address the many public concerns and for saving Marathon well over $2 million in costs, is to be commended and congratulated,” Schmitt said, reading from a prepared statement.

This is the second time the city has put out a bid for city hall. The first plan was scrapped when bids came in ranging from $7 million to $9 million. The building was then redesigned on a more modest scale.

Legal news

City attorney Lynn Dannheisser announced a plus and a negative for the city’s legal ledger.

On the positive side, she said the city and representatives from Globetec are nearing a resolution to that lawsuit regarding early days of the city’s sewer system construction. There will be a closed, special call meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 21 to address it.

On the negative side, the city was served with another lawsuit on Tuesday. It is related to the other lawsuit regarding Overseas Lounge, but the city is the sole defendant and it pertains only to public records, Dannheisser said. She asked and received the council’s support to engage the same law firm that is representing the city on that matter. She said she thought this latest litigation would not be underwritten by the League of Cities, but because of the relationship between the two lawsuits, it’s best handled by one law firm.

Editor Sara Matthis thinks community journalism is important, but not serious; likes small and weird children (she has two); prefers target practice with a zombie rat poster; and looks best with saltwater dreads. Occasionally she tortures herself with sprint-distance triathlons, but only if she has a good chance of beating her sister. 

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