January 18, 2018
By David Nordby
The Brillion News
BRILLION – Brillion Mayor Gary Deiter said at a recent public meeting that the city does not want the new city hall building to be a “Taj Mahal.” It might just feel like it for city officials when the new building, that is likely to break ground this year, is completed.
The new facility will include a corridor separating an administrative portion on one side of the building and public area on the other end.
“I think the flow will be a lot easier for public use than it is here now,” Brillion City Administrator Lori Gosz said.
The current facility on Calumet Street has the Brillion Police Department and city administrators sharing a small hallway with doors to their respective offices. A conference room, shared by the city and police, fire and ambulance departments, is at the end of the hall.
Integrated Public Resources LLC (IPR), who will lease the building to the city, attended a public meeting last week. After being talked about for years, the project is full steam ahead. IPR Project Manager TJ Lamers said that a 2018 starting date is likely.
“We’re building this for the future generations and the future of the City of Brillion,” Gosz said. The future of the building is being kept in mind too, as plans will allow additional office spaces and a full addition to be constructed later. Gosz also pointed out that nothing has changed on the old HUB building since it was built in the 1970’s.
The new city hall project has been planned at the same time as a new residential apartment complex. Both will share a parking lot with Dollar General. A private developer will own the apartment property, which Gosz says is a good thing.
“That value is anticipated to increase by $5-6 million of taxable property there that would offset whatever the cost of the lease on the city hall building,” Gosz said. “The higher you can grow your tax base, the lower your tax rate is, and that’s our goal.”
The lease of the city hall building is one of the biggest unknowns surrounding the project. The price of the monthly payment will be determined after construction bids. Once the city agrees to the price, IPR will begin construction.
“I think it’s a great thing and it will make our city much more visible to have our city hall on Main Street,” city council member Wally Sonnabend said. “I think [the relationship with IPR] will work out fine.”
“I think [the new city hall] is a great thing, but the only thing that bothers me is the money, because right now the city has a lot of borrowing out there,” council member Betty Nies said, before she mentioned the city roads that need fixing.
Gosz says that the city is in communication with Brillion’s financial advisors on how the building could impact the city’s borrowing limits.
Nies, first elected in 1988 and the longest serving member of council, added that she is comfortable with the overall idea of a public-private partnership with IPR.
“I want the council to be very much aware of what is happening because it is our responsibility,” she said. “There’s so many things going on right now that it’s mind boggling … One thing I’m very excited about is the new apartment building, because I know we need new apartments.”
Editor’s correction: Last week’s Brillion News article that recapped the special city council meeting with IPR reported that people showed up to the meeting late because the Brillion City Council Facebook page had the wrong time. The RDA Facebook page was where people were misinformed.
Please see the complete story in the January 18, 2018 edition of The Brillion News.