WORTHINGTON — Despite considerable discussion, no new action came of Tuesday’s Nobles County Board of Commissioners’ meeting regarding county funding for the Welcome, Education, Library and Livability (W.E.L.L.) project.
The board's main task Tuesday was to determine whether to instruct an architect to design a facility with the intent to request state bonding funds. Preparing architectural designs to be considered for state bonding would likely be more costly, as the state has requirements related to renewable energy and other efficiencies that results in increased time and effort by the architect, reported Nobles County Administrator Tom Johnson.
Marlene Greve, speaking on behalf of the Nobles County Library Board, requested commissioners take no action until the completion of a guiding document meant to clarify the library board’s project requests.
“Our informed intent to support or withdraw from the W.E.L.L. project would be based on our findings from the guiding document and the preliminary architectural renderings,” Greve said. The document is expected to be finalized following the library board’s July 8 meeting.
Commissioner Justin Ahlers said he has a difficult time spending money for an architect without having the library board’s governing document completed.
Nobles County Library Director Marjorie Ferguson called architectural drawings more important as it relates to the W.E.L.L. project than if the library were considering any other location due to it being a shared facility between multiple entities.
The county did agree to move forward with architectural designs at its June meeting, reminded chairperson Matt Widboom.
The architect, he added, will take each entity’s needs into consideration and help determine if and how they may all fit.
“It’s going to take compromise from everybody,” Widboom said, adding that each entity will have independent wish lists. “Every group that is going to have space is going to have to have some give and take in where it’s going to fit. That’s where the architect is going to need to guide that give and take discussion.”
Johnson added that an architect is needed soon, as a true cost estimate for the project can’t be achieved until a good portion of the design is complete.
A committee including representatives from the county, city of Worthington and District 518 is expected to consider requests for proposals for an architect. That committee’s recommendation would come before each separate entity for approval.
Commissioners also discussed the possibility of having a joint county/city/school meeting in the future. No date was set.
In other action, the board:
Approved completion of a preliminary engineering report to submit to the federal government for funding consideration for the Reading sewer project. The report will be completed by Wenck Associates, Inc.
Approved resurfacing the east and south sides of the county’s Public Works Department lot at a price of $309,132.50. Nobles County Public Works Director Steve Schnieder said the low bid — which was approximately $20,000 under budget — was submitted by McCuen Construction, Inc. of Worthington.
Approved hiring CliftonLarsonAllen (CLA) for $14,500 to complete a comprehensive financial assessment of the county’s auditor-treasurer, public works, community services and finance departments.