MENOMINEE — The Menominee County Board of Commissioners took a different path than initially planned, Tuesday when discussing the future of the Bagley Tower.

The Bagley Tower, a radio tower in northern end of Menominee County, was recently purchased by Menominee County from the Menominee County Road Commission in a quick-claim lease for $1. The tower is used as a communication tower by the county E-911 and emergency response agencies, but it no longer preforms to its expected function and needs to be rebuilt. The county is beginning the process to undergo a project to rebuild it in the future.

The commissioners discussed the possibility of building the tower to specifications that would allow Menominee County to contract space on the tower to outside vendors, such as internet providers. This idea was proposed Tuesday. Previously, the county had planned on rebuilding it to the exact specs to which it is currently built.

County Administrator Jason Carviou presented a draft RFP (request for proposal) on the original plan to the board. The RFP would require the proposal to include three bonds: A bid bond, a payment bond and a performance bond.

A bid bond in the amount of $5,000 to be submitted with the proposals. This bond would be returned to the companies that made a proposal that was not selected. Menominee County will keep the $5,000 bond of the company whose proposal in selected to guarantee the project begins on time.

The second bond will be a payment bond that will be 100 percent of the total proposal. This bond would confirm the primary contractor selected can afford to pay any subcontractors who may be hired to help complete the project.

The final bond is a performance bond, which sets money aside to pay for the project if it is not completed to Menominee County’s satisfaction.

“Bonds are meant to protect us. A $150,000 project is the largest project that I’ve worked on since I’ve been here, so we need to put those protections in place,” Carviou said.

The RFP that Carviou proposed is for the Bagley Tower to be rebuilt to the exact specs of the current tower, but it does state the vendor hired can use their own expertise to provide additional information or designs.

“It gives the vendors a lot of discretion to do what they think would work best for Menominee County,” he added.

However, Commissioner David Prestin suggested that Menominee County could potentially make a profit off the tower if the county chose to provide tower space to other companies.

“The tower at my gas station, they went all out. They have over 25 different vendors paying to be on that tower,” he said. “We shouldn’t miss an opportunity by building something for a singular use.”

He suggested building a tower with specs to host multiple vendors when it is built.

Carviou said this would require an engineering study that would increase the price of the project and further delay it.

He added that the county may not want to build a more expensive tower without vendors who have already signed a contract to be on it.

“You’re getting ahead of yourselves by building a tower that will cost twice as much money without having any contracts in place,” Carviou said. “And now you’re delaying a project that has been delayed too long to get there.”

Carviou added that if Menominee County wants to look into building a tower that is capable of hosting several vendors, then it must first hire a consultant to write the RFP. 

“This is outside of our technical ability between 911 and I,” he said. “It’s easy to write an RFP for what’s already there but now we’re going above and beyond that.”

Several commissioners agreed that the idea was worth looking into. Carviou said he would need to write a new RFP to find a consultant. He added this would also delay the project until at least 2021.

“We’ll bring the consultant in and they will tell us what all the options are and the board can decide what it wants,” Carviou said. He added that he hopes the consultant would also write the RFP for the final project as well.

“I’ll go back to the drawing board and write an RFP for a consultant. I’ll need to do some research before I can do that,” he said.