Annex building updates to begin in April

REED CITY — Updates to the Osceola County Annex building are slated to begin sometime next month.

The Osceola County Board of Commissioners voted to accept a bid by Hallmark Construction to update the annex building on West Upton Road, providing it meets certain county specifications. Of the four companies bidding for the project, Hallmark Construction had the lowest bid at $413,800. Each of the companies were interviewed on Tuesday.

County Coordinator Susan Vander Pol participated in the interviews following the commission’s regular meeting and said Hallmark Construction needs to provide more information before the county will accept its bid. She expects to receive the information by the end of the week.

“We’re still in the process of doing the interviews and getting information,” Vander Pol said. “We’re looking for information about what products they’re going to use to make sure that they meet bid specifications.”

Construction on the annex renovation is expected to begin in mid April, culminating in early July. The county wants to update the annex’s electrical, water heater and HVAC systems, as well as replace windows, doors and lighting.

Commissioners said the reputations of the four bidding contractors are all commendable and that they would have been comfortable hiring any of them.

“If they are all good (companies) and all on equal footing, we usually go with the low bidder,” said commissioner Larry Emig. “The only thing that would change that would be if the second bidder is more local. In this case we don’t really have a local bidder per se. (Hallmark Construction) is the low bid, so there’s no reason not to give (them the contract).”

The county contracted with Muskegon-based engineering firm Hooker DeJong in November to assist in requesting bids from contractors and in seeking financial bonding for the annex building. The contract with Hooker DeJong was for $41,750. Hooker DeJong participated in the interviews on Tuesday.

The county is seeking bond proposals from five local banks, which are expected to respond with interest rates by the end of the month. The commission will accept the lowest rate at a later meeting.

In other news, the county approved implementing the increased 9-1-1 surcharge of $2.25 a month attached to every phone capable of dialing 9-1-1 — including cell phones — for the Meceola Consolidated Central Dispatch Center. Mecosta and Osceola county voters approved the 75-cent increase in August. The increase will go into effect July 1.

County commissioners also re-appointed Herbert Phelps, George Hollingshead, Sidney King, Kevin Miller, Jim Peterson, Keith Holmes and Terrance Gerber to the county building department’s board of appeals.