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Shamrock Township says ‘NO’ to building
 
by Angie Johnson  |  August 8, 2006
 

In the biggest turnout in Shamrock Township meeting history, residents overwhelmingly voted ‘NO’ on the proposed town hall/maintenance building. Fifty-four “yes’s” and 149 “no’s” at the continuation of the annual meeting on August 3rd put an end to the debate over the proposed $1.4 million building project… for now.

“We’ll go back to the drawing board,” said Shamrock Township Chairman Ron Smith. “There has to be some sort of a building for our equipment. It can’t sit outside.”

The sticker shock that stalled progress on new building proposals years ago again came into play Thursday night. When it came time to vote, the motion prepared by Township Attorney Peter Tiede said building costs would not exceed $1.6 million, while the previous estimate was $1,433,610.43. The $1.6 million included financing costs; the $1.4 million was construction costs only. The $200,000 gap made little difference, however.

Terry Roy, a resident opposed to the 10,553-square foot building, received a round of applause for his statement, “We don’t need a Donald Trump building.” Terry said Big Sandy Lodge built a structural steel building for $650,000. He suggested constructing a less expensive building in the spring.

The building, however, is not comparable to Shamrock’s proposed building because of the additional regulations to which government buildings are subjected. Shamrock Supervisor Nancy Karjalahti commented after the meeting, saying that the building Terry was referring to is not finished—there is a dirt floor and no heat or electricity in portions of it. (Big Sandy Lodge was unavailable for comment to verify any statements made about their building.)  

Despite assurances by the construction manager—Construction Analysis and Management (CAM)—that the project has a conservative price and that it would not come in over budget, residents just couldn’t stomach higher taxes. Taxes would have increased approximately $49 per year for a $200,000 home.

Residents were also assured by architect John Geissler and Supervisor Karjalahti that all the unnecessary spaces were cut from the building plan. “The original was twice the size,” Nancy said. “We started in 1999 and presented a building for $500,000. Through the years, the price has gone up and the [proposed] building has gotten smaller.”

Though the project was rejected, a portion of residents’ taxes are still going toward a future building project—about $39 per year on a $200,000 home. Residents are also paying $45,000 to $50,000 in architect and engineer fees to DSGW Architects for the work they have already done on the building. CAM takes no fee for the work they have done in estimating construction costs.

“We are in a catch-22,” Nancy said. “The citizens have said no. They would sooner pay for repairs [on maintenance equipment]. The Shamrock Township citizens feel Shamrock is not worthy of a building, as far as I can see. [But] we’ll start over.”

“It will be back,” said Shamrock resident Liz Krezowski. “And it will be more expensive.”

OTHER BUSINESS

Prior to the vote, the possibility of Shamrock becoming an urban township was discussed. “We felt we didn’t have enough information to make a decision,” said Dave Schaaf, the urban township task force chairman.

An urban township task force meeting is scheduled for Saturday, August 19, at 10 a.m. The committee plans to hold two or three public hearings—prior to the annual meeting in March—when they have enough information.

This article first appeared in the August 8, 2006 issue of the Voyageur Press.