Fremont eyes new town hall
By Jeanne Sager
FREMONT CENTER An August deadline to use up grant monies pushed the Town of Fremont Board to do what members have been debating for years Wednesday night.
On a suggestion from Supervisor Jim Greier, the town board voted to seek bids for a new town hall.
The decision came on the heels of board approval of a grant application for a possible $30,000 award to improve the town’s justice court. If garnered, those funds would go toward building the town justices their own chambers in the current town meeting space.
In turn, that would drastically reduce the amount of space for meetings in the aging Joseph Winkler Municipal Building.
With proposals in hand to gauge the possible cost of ordering a modular building to create new usable office and meeting space for the town, Greier said he was tired of talking about a new town hall. It was time to act.
“I’d like to put this up for bid to be opened next meeting,” the supervisor announced.
The town has been sitting on an $8,125 grant through the Upper Delaware Council to make improvements at the town hall, Greier explained, and time is running short.
“If we don’t spend it by Aug. 17, it’s gone,” he noted.
The pressure of a time limit didn’t sit well with Councilman George Conklin. He doesn’t want to see the town lose money, but as a contractor, Conklin said he was uneasy putting out to bid a project that hasn’t been clearly spelled out.
He suggested determining a size for the building and bidding out the concrete work of a foundation instead, using the $8,000 to cover that cost and giving the town board time to develop its plans.
Conklin also floated the idea of drawing up a detailed budget to determine how much the town would spend.
“We’ve been talking on this for two years now, three years, and we haven’t gotten any further than this table,” Greier said.
With Conklin’s experience in construction, the plan put out to bidders didn’t have to be rough, Greier said, if Conklin would be willing to lend a hand at drawing up specifications for bidders to review.
The councilman agreed, prompting a unanimous vote with the exception of Councilman Ron Rhodes, who was not present.
The bids will be opened at the next meeting, at which time the town board will make its next decision in the process.
“We don’t have to accept the bids,” Greier noted. “If it’s not acceptable, we don’t accept them, and we lose the money. But we won’t get ANYTHING if we don’t put it out to bid.”