Litchfield Hopes CMT Contract Solves HVAC

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Members of the Litchfield city council approved a motion to contract Crawford, Murphy and Tilly Engineering to provide pre-bid and bid services for the city hall HVAC replacement design project during their meeting on Thursday, Sept. 5, in hopes that this is the first step in solving an issue that has plagued the city's administrative offices for several years.

The motion wasn't passed without discussion though, as some aldermen expressed concern over granting CMT the contract. Alderman David Hollo was one of those aldermen, stating that CMT had previously been given a $15,000 contract to fix the problem but had not done so.

Ted LaBelle of CMT said that three years ago the city was working on the roof replacement project for city hall and CMT proposed a plan to improve the system through some small tweaks as an alternative to a more expensive option.

LaBelle said at the time the rooftop unit still had three or more years of use, but now the system needs replaced. He added that CMT has tried to advise and make recommendations on improving the system, some of which the city was not charged for. Alderman Woodie Street said that while CMT did work that they did not charge for, the work did not fix the problem.

In the motion before the council on Thursday, CMT wouldn't be designing the HVAC system, but would be preparing information for the HVAC companies who would design the system that the city thought would be best.

Mayor Steve Dougherty asked what the city would be receiving for the money paid to CMT. City Administrator Tonya Flannery said that CMT would be providing guidance and performance criteria for the bidders, with each contractor providing their own HVAC plan. CMT would also review the bids to ensure that they met the criteria that the city had set.

The council would pass the motion 7-0, with Alderman Dwayne Gerl absent.

The council also approved the purchase of a LMI chemical feed pump for the feed system at the Litchfield wastewater treatment facility for an amount not to exceed $1,746.06, an amendment to the long-term economic development loan with Allscripts Health Solutions and a waiver for the Montgomery County Housing Authority for the Brown Shoe Property for utility flat fees ($40 per unit) for 27 units not occupied during the one-year construction period.

Alderman Mark Brown expressed concern over the Brown Shoe Property, asking if the housing authority was planning to sell the property to a public investor. Flannery said that the Montgomery County Housing Authority had no intention to sell and had a contract stating so. She added that last time, the project was done by a private developer and management company, who did not manage the property correctly. The housing authority is putting $6 million into a renovation for the property to get it back up to standards.

In economic development business, the council also approved a payment request from Gelly Excavating and Construction of $631,860.30, approved the establishment for a pay request board for the McKay Auto Parts grant and authorized Gelly Excavating and Construction to complete work on the watermain extension for the westside industrial park for an amount not to exceed $25,000.

Alderman Street said that while the work on the watermain extension is behind schedule, work on the overall project is on schedule and on budget.

Other motions passing were to begin condemnation and demolition for the structure at 612 N. Jefferson Street, to purchase an overhead door for the street department from Midwest Door Company for $5,272, to purchase largemouth bass from Fountain Bluff Hatchery at a cost of $1.80 per fish for a total cost of $5,000, to approve Wayne Davis Backhoe and Trucking to remove 2.33 acres of trees from the shoreline of the 5-Mile Lake emergency spillway for $5,000, to approve an agreement with CMT for dam inspections totaling $13,200 and to approve the low bid for construction of the infrastructure at Eagle Ridge subdivision at Lake Lou Yaeger to Brewster Companies Inc., for an amount not to exceed $1,199,912.64. Alderwoman Sisson voted against the motion.

In other business, motions to approve a pay request for $144,258.40 to Tecorp for repainting of the elevated water storage tank, to approve two tourism advertising contracts, to approve the consulting agreement with Thomas F. Franzen and Company for consulting and to approve the purchase of a 2019 Dodge Charger police package sedan and a 2019 Dodge Ram 1500 4x4 police package from Victory Lane through the Central Service Center for $66,367. The motion also called for the vehicles to be equipped with emergency lighting and radio equipment through D&M Electric, along with placement of the current Litchfield Police Department design graphics.

The council would enter into closed session at 7:10 p.m. and would return to open session at 7:22 p.m. They would approve one motion, to solicit bids for the purchase of the properties at 1003 North Illinois and 1018 East Union for redevelopment of a residence. The motion calls for the property to be redeveloped within 24 months.

At the start of the meeting, Officer Tom Melchert was sworn in as the police department's newest sergeant. According to Police Chief Kenny Ryker, Melchert is a 13-year veteran of the Litchfield Police Department, who also served on the drug task force during his career. Melchert was sworn in by City Clerk Carol Burke, with his wife Danielle assisting in the process and his father, Tom, pinning on his new badge.

The council will meet again on Sept. 19, at 6:30 p.m. for their second meeting of the month.

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