Wega hires new engineers
Mayor opposes council’s decision
By Angie Landsverk
After years of contracting with Cedar Corp. for the city of Weyauwega’s engineering services, the common council has chosen a new firm for the service.
With all members present, the council voted unanimously on Nov. 18, to hire McMahon for the service.
Two representatives from Cedar Corp. attended the meeting.
They walked out of the council chambers after the vote.
Howard Quimby, a former Weyauwega mayor, joined them for a short discussion before he returned to the chambers.
“Cedar’s been doing a great job for years. I think we should stay with Cedar,” Mayor Jack Spierings said prior to the vote.
The firm’s contract with the city runs until Jan. 1.
City Administrator Jeremy Schroeder said a contract will be negotiated with McMahon to begin on Jan. 1.
Ald. Keith Najdowski said he liked what McMahon brought to the table.
That included seeking grants, which a reference check backed up, he said.
Najdowski said Cedar Corp. has done a great job for the city.
The reference check showed other communities it works with feel the same way, he said.
However, Najdowski noted many of them were similar to Weyauwega in that they had also worked with the firm for decades.
“I kind of wanted to see what’s out there,” he said.
Mayor concerned about water tower grant
The mayor questioned the timing.
“The city has got too much at risk here,” Spierings said. “We could possibly lose our $1 million grant by switching.”
He was referring to the Community Development Block Grant the city received to go toward the cost of building a new water tower.
Cedar Corp. completed the grant application the city submitted.
“We already agreed to have Cedar do that,” Najdowski said.
The council voted last month to hire the firm to administer the grant and conduct the preliminary design and bid process for the water tower, regardless of whether it remained the city’s engineer firm.
Ald. Dewey Stelzner said both companies were comparable.
He said what stood out to him was McMahon seemed “more proactive, than reactive.”
Six firms submitted statements of qualifications.
In addition to Cedar Corp. and McMahon, the Public Works Committee also interviewed Martenson & Eisele.
Ald. Bruce Goetsch said the committee ranked McMahon and Cedar Corp. as the top two.
The reference checks followed.
During the discussion, Goetsch said he wanted to see Cedar Corp. continue being the city’s firm for a year, with more communication between the firm and city.
Spierings said the city already signed a contract to have Cedar Corp. see the city through the water tower project, which could could take two or three years.
“It’s terrible timing,” the mayor said before suggesting the council table action.
Najdowski said that for at least five years, the council talked about seeking bids for the service.
Several years ago, large projects were underway in the city.
He described this as being the “prime time” to seek bids for the service, because the city in between major projects.
“I could be wrong,” Najdowski said. “But based on what I saw, I thought McMahon offered us an interesting prospect.”