South Shore Fire Department News

MOUNT PLEASANT — The bids to build the north side ambulance station in Mount Pleasant are in and the results are not what was anticipated.

The village budgeted $500,000 to build the EMS (emergency medical services) station proposed just south of the intersection of Spring Street and Emmertsen Road, and officials were hoping to begin construction later this year.

On Tuesday, the village found out how much contractors are willing to be paid to do the project when officials unsealed the four bid proposals it received on this project.

Village Administrator Maureen Murphy said the bids ranged from slightly over $900,000 to over $1 million.

Murphy added the village is concerned that the EMS station cannot be completed with the $500,000 budgeted for project.

“Based on the specifications, it was an open bidding and we have now learned that’s what this type of project would cost in the market,” Murphy said. “The finance director and myself will be presenting some options to the Village Board.”

The Village Board would have the final say on if the EMS project is allowed to continue beyond what was budgeted.

If the board does give the thumbs up to the village administration to go forward with the project, it will then go to the Finance/Legal/License Committee and then again to the board for final approval.

South Shore Fire Department Chief Robert Stedman said the village has been caught in a “perfect storm,” and the cost of materials and contractors have gone up.

“All of a sudden, the economy changed, people are buying houses, people are building houses, people are investing in businesses, there’s a lot of construction going on,” Stedman said. “There’s only so many contractors that are available … the price of raw materials went up, it’s like the perfect storm. Everything happened at once.”

The proposed EMS station is planned to be fashioned from a home the village bought for $40,000. Plans are for the facility to house two ambulances and for the Fire Department to hire additional personnel to staff the facility.

Previous bids similar

Back on June 25, Stedman updated the board on the two bids the village did have at that time, and each were over $1 million.

After reaching out to the two contractors, Stedman said they were told the prices were high because subcontractors for plumbing and electrical work were too busy and didn’t bid on the project.

“They put in a price for what they thought would be a reasonable cost to build this without knowing what a subcontractor would cost,” Stedman said in June.

During the debate as to how much the village should budget for the EMS station, Village Trustee Gary Feest thought the $500,000 price tag was too low to do the project well.

Stedman admitted in that June meeting that Feest probably right, “but there’s not much we can do about that now.”

Both bids were rejected and the village solicited more bids.

‘Still a need’

Over the summer, tariffs imposed on foreign countries by the Trump administration has had an impact in the process.

“Anything being built using steel, metal or wood is up between 20-30 percent since the announcement of the tariffs,” Stedman said in June. “The cost of stone backfill is up over 200 percent in the last four months.”

If and when the village settles on a contractor, it will be up to the Village Board to make the final approval and its possible construction on the project could be delayed if the board votes against it.

In the meantime, there is still a need for EMS services in that area, Stedman said.

Stedman said about 23 percent of calls are in that area and about 80 percent of those calls are EMS related.

“The need has not gone away, it’s still there,” Stedman said. “We’ve had a lot of people support the EMS station.”

The South Shore Fire Department serves the villages of Sturtevant and Elmwood Park in addition to Mount Pleasant.

“There’s a lot of construction going on. There’s only so many contractors that are available … the price of raw materials went up, it’s like the perfect storm. Everything happened at once.” Robert Stedman, South Shore fire chief

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Ricardo Torres covers federal, state and Racine County politics along with the Village of Mount Pleasant. He bleeds Wisconsin sports teams.

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