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Rising Construction Costs Put Dodge County Projects on Hold

Created: 06/11/2014 7:22 PM KAALtv.com
By: Steph Crock

(ABC 6 News) -- The Dodge County Board of Commissioners turned down both bids to renovate the county courthouse and government services building, saying the bids were way too expensive. One county commissioner feels that the rapid growth in the region is the driving factor.

Plans to renovate the courthouse have been put on hold. “Costs were above what we had said is our bonding limit," said Dodge County Commissioner Tim Tjosaas.

The Dodge County Board of Commissioners was hoping to expand the building to accommodate growth within the county, but growth may also be why the project is so costly, so says Tjosaas. "I didn't blame DMC. It was more just a reality that with new growth, with larger than anticipated growth, comes challenges," said Tjosaas.

We asked builders, is growth and high demand the reason for such high bids across the region?

"Well we've been builders in Rochester for over 50 years so I can go back and tell you that this increase in pricing that you're seeing is not because of builders wanting more money, it's due to material costs increasing, land costs increasing, city fees increasing..." said Jean DeWitz, owner of DeWitz Homes Builders. She says those are the big reasons why they've had to up the price tag. "I can assure you, myself as a builder, that our profit margins were greater in the boom than they are today," said DeWitz.

She says growth may make lots/land more expensive, but building costs, it's hard to say. "I mean, I guess it could, but I'm hoping not. I'm hoping that things stay reined in and we're able to keep building our community and building it at a reasonable cost," said DeWitz.

"There's a lot of growth, there's a lot of good growth. If anything, it shows that, you know, we need to really make sure we've got the numbers where we want them, the project where we want, and figure it out from there," said Tjosaas.

Though the bids were rejected, the project to renovate the Dodge County Courthouse isn't off the table. We're told they're reworking the timeline of the project and will seek more bids from there.