Marshfield Utilities introduces building proposal
By Hub City Times staff
MARSHFIELD – For the first time in more than a half century, Marshfield’s public power and water utility is looking to expand and upgrade its headquarters.
Marshfield Utilities General Manager Nick Kumm told the Marshfield Common Council on Jan. 14 that the city’s water and electric department is proposing a $17.5 million facility on the site of the existing office building at 2000 South Central Avenue. He said the utility’s architect has identified a need for more than 77,000 square feet of additional space, for a total of 82,600 square feet.
“Larger vehicles, additional material, and new equipment have taken up additional space,” he explained. “A secure lobby space to protect our staff; public restrooms and a conference room for our commission and other public meetings; for integration of the water department staff and equipment within the main facility; separate locker room and dedicated work space for our field staff so they can accommodate mobile technology solutions and other needs. Dual purpose space for emergency operations and meetings were considered; additional employees over the years has been mentioned – added offices, but also added staff; and obviously new technology has embraced all of us so its led to new staff for IT functions along with regulatory compliance and other needs.”
The design would also give the utilities the ability to expand.
Kumm told the council the project would start in March of next year, with completion scheduled for July 2022.
“As many of you know interest rates related to borrowing are near all time lows,” he said. Adding that inflation could make costs go up and that working in conjunction with the aquatic facility project could provide some cost savings.
Kumm also said the project would mean a slight electric rate increase for utility customers, but even with a nominal increase the rates are well below neighboring communities.
Kumm said the electric rate increase because of the building project would be $4 per month for the average residential customer and based on approval of the project, and rate-increase approval from the state Public Service Commission, Kumm said the increased rates would take effect in 2023.
The utility has operated out of its current facility since 1966. Kumm said the Marshfield Utility Commission will consider the project at a special meeting Jan. 24, and he’ll report back to the council on Jan. 28.