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Constructive Comments

Dick Snow

Badger contractors tight


We called up the Contractor Directory from the latest Wisconsin Builder on   The Daily Reporter Web site and were amazed to count 79 construction industry   associations listed in the state.


That’s a heap of togetherness and we hope an effective force to advance the   industry’s agenda in coping with the ever-present plethora of rules and regulations.


Perhaps, some day someone will get all those associations on the same page in the same room.


See for yourself — tap into dailyreporter.com for an engaging look at your   industry at the Wisconsin Builder link. It’s truly a great public service.


Don’t like it? Change it


Is the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission’s makeup skewed   to give the area’s seven counties equal representation in the face of its unequal   funding?
  Milwaukee Alderman Mike Murphy is suggesting just that and wants to see Gov.   Jim Doyle change it. Milwaukee County, Murphy says, bears 36 percent of the   financial freight while Ozaukee County, for example, coughs up 6.5 percent.


Murphy also asserts SEWRPC’s current group is too “white” and feels   that minorities are underrepresented.


“SEWRPC’s governance structure goes against the one-person, one-vote principle   that most organizations are set up by,” he told The Daily Reporter.


At the heart of his problem with the agency is, of course, the heated debate   over the remodeling and/or widening of the freeway system, the charge being   led by city of Milwaukee officials.


For instance, state Reps. Jon Richards and David Cullen, both representing   Milwaukee districts, allege that the commission doesn’t reflect the needs of   the citizens and want the Legislative Audit Bureau to audit SEWRPC.


Sounds like a good idea here.


Maybe we can find out the real reason the Park East freeway spur was removed,   an act not necessarily in the best interest of the citizens from Ozaukee, Washington,   Racine, Kenosha and Walworth counties.


And we won’t even suggest the Legislative Audit Bureau extend the proposed   study to include the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District’s governing structure.


It’s silly season again


The Potawatomi Bingo Casino may move from its present location in the Menomonee   Valley to the disaster area created by the removal of the Park East freeway   ramp.


With government officials apparently falling all over themselves to affect   the move, someone forgot to tell the tribe. That’s par for the course, but why?


The most common stated reason is that would aid and abet the redevelopment   of the Pabst Brewery confines by Chicago developers, certainly a worthy effort.   It is further proposed that the removal of the tribe from the valley would enhance   opportunities to develop light industrial development there.


Once relocated, the current casino could be converted into a light manufacturing   facility.




Bill O’Reilly, in his Fox “No Spin Zone” nightly piece, could use   this in his “Most Ridiculous Item of the Day” segment.


On the other hand, we have a lame duck mayor who opposed any gambling at all   in the community now singing a different tune. There’s also a governor who’s   railroaded a new gambling pact with Indian tribes without any community consultation.


Money is one reason for this proposal, new revenues to pay for continuing to   bloat the bureaucracies at the state and local levels. The Indian tribal gambling   interests assuredly have become cash cows for politicians who wish to be elected   or re-elected. However, whatever has become of good, solid public policy?


Expanded lock-up draws a crowd


There’s nothing like the prospect of getting a piece or two of a $34 million   project that won’t attract a gaggle of contractors, particularly during the   current tight market.


That’s exactly what happened last week when more than 40 contractors swamped   the facilities at the Waukesha County administration facility.


The issue involved plans for a major expansion of the Waukesha County jail.   One county official termed the project “probably the county’s most costly   construction ever.”


We can only trust that not one individual of the 40-plus firms was detained   after touring the current jail and will submit a successful bid on June 17 to   get a piece of the work.


It was surprising to learn that a Wausau-based construction manager, Adolphson   & Peterson, has been selected to nurse the two-year project to completion.


When the project is completed in 2005, the county will be able to house 476   inmates, up from today’s capacity of 306, which is often overcrowded. (That,   of course, doesn’t speak well for the Waukesha County community, but so be it.)


On the bidding spike


Once in awhile, we manage to get our jollies over the tightness of bidding   on big buck projects — the dollar amounts may be bigger, but the percentages   of difference are just as tight as for smaller-sized projects. Last week, for   example:


  • Platt Construction’s $1,712,284 bid to build a pump station in Franklin   was $9,716, or 0.567 percent, lower than C.D. Smith’s offering to do the work   for $1,722,000. Not bad.

  • Then there was the $20,524.15 difference, 0.324 percent, between Super   Excavators, Menomonee Falls, at $6,333,809.52 and Mann Bros., Elkhorn, at   $6,354,333.67 to do paving, utility and storm-water work in Mukwonago.
      However, a report from our good friend, the Left-Handed Fiddler from Lodi,   gives us our Squeeze of the Week winner.

  • To build the Lodi Good Samaritan Center Congregate Apartments, the winning   margin of $4,000, just 0.164 percent, was earned by Stevens Construction,   Madison, $2,433,000, under the bid of $2,437,000 by Bauer & Raether Builders,   Madison.


Stay tuned and squeeze on.

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