ISHPEMING — Renovations were the hot topic of the day at a special meeting of the Ishpeming City Council Monday morning.
“The department heads basically banded together and decided that we weren’t leaving the room ’til we figured it out, and we got it figured out, and we’re moving forward,” said Ishpeming City Manager Mark Slown.
The Ishpeming City Council and heads of the city’s fire, police, and public works departments got to look at a concept for the renovation of some of the city’s historic municipal buildings Monday morning. Architects from OHM Advisors outlined planned improvements to city hall and the police, fire, and public works facilities, which included new accessibility additions, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing upgrades, and a potential office remodel for the DPW. The changes were based on priorities set forth by the council.
“If money were no object, there might be other options, but because money is tight, we tried to whittle the project down to the most essential items and focus on the things that are really critical,” Slown added.
Part of the reason the city is looking to undertake the renovations is to help obtain a USDA grant for water system improvements. After discussing the improvements and additional fixes that may need to be done, the council voted to move forward, sending the concepts back to the engineers to work out the costs involved.
“They’re going to spend probably a couple of months actually putting out bid specifications, designing details, things that are necessary so the contractors can come back and give us a contract price,” added Slown. “Once those are done, they it will come back to council to award the project to a bidder. We may or may not have to cut some things out of the project depending on what we can and can’t afford based upon the bids.”
The various city departments also outlined their goals for this year, and many of them mentioned replacing an aging technological infrastructure — specifically computer and phone systems — as a key factor in improving efficiency.
“When you’re talking about servers and telephone equipment, they get to be 15, 20, 25 years old, they’re pretty much obsolete. They cost more just to maintain than they do to replace,” Slown said.
Department heads and council members also discussed the need for an equipment fund to help coordinate costs between departments.