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February 26, 2020

2/13/2020 7:30:00 AM
Oneida Vilas Transit Commission to pursue Rhinelander facility
Kayla Houp
Of the Lakeland Times

After months of exploring different options, the Oneida Vilas Transit Commission believes it has identified a facility that would not only support its operations but also allow for garage storage to house its buses.

Talks of pursuing a facility in Eagle River were tabled at the Commission's Jan. 10 meeting, due to issues regarding the lease and purchase agreement. However, when the group met again on Friday, Feb. 7, the OVTC approved a motion to authorize chairman Erv Teichmiller and transit manager Roger Youngren to continue with lease proceedings on the Commission's behalf for a property at 3611 Hwy. 47 in Crescent.

This facility option is a 3,000-square foot office building with a 50-by-50-foot heated garage, located along U.S. Highway 47, which features several offices and a conference room.

"The standard is if we do sign the lease, if someone should purchase it in the meantime, that lease has to be honored through to the end of its term," Teichmiller said. "It does afford us with an opportunity to have adequate office space, as well as, more importantly, adequate storage of some of our vehicles, and even far more importantly, a warm place to actually service them."

Lease amendments

Teichmiller informed the Commission he had a couple of questions regarding changes to the lease that would allow the Commission signage and utilizing wall space, as well as potentially purchasing the property.

"We did talk about - given that we do have a grant that we're waiting on in the hopes that we will receive for the purpose of purchasing if it turns out we like this facility - we'd like to have first option to purchase," Teichmiller said.

In speaking with the realtor, Teichmiller said it was suggested the Commission consider making an offer on the building contingent upon the Commission receiving the grant.

"I think that may be a good way to go," he said. "It would lock the property up for us."

According to Youngren, the Commission should be hearing the results of the grant within the month.

The lease was for one year with a $1,250 security deposit and $1,250 per month rent, including utilities for the garage and three office spaces.

"The rest of it's covered because apparently it's not separately metered," Teichmiller said.

Additional costs associated with the relocation would include moving expenses, transferring phone and internet connection, and moving equipment to the new facility.

'That's off the table'

The facility's garage could accommodate approximately five or six buses and would include the area for repair.

Youngren said the earliest the Commission could occupy the building would be March 1.

Commission member Chuck Hayes mentioned the purchase of the building compared to the Eagle River facility. The price of the Rhinelander property is listed as $249,500 whereas the Eagle River property was listed at $455,000.

Aside from the difference in price, Youngren said the Rhinelander facility was not only a better location, but had more office space than the Commission needed.

"The Eagle River facility is newer, a lot more garage space, but I think that's off the table given the fact that they're unwilling to negotiate," Youngren said. "... We tabled it last meeting and I don't think there's any need for further discussion about it."

'We've looked a long time'

Hayes asked if the Commission had the ability to sublet the space it wasn't using, should the Commission purchase the property, as the Rhinelander facility had more office space than they needed.

Youngren said the grant would allow for subletting so long as it didn't interfere with the Commission's business.

"Which, in this case, would be just renting office space and it wouldn't affect our business whatsoever," he said.

"We've looked a long time and we've tried to get a place that would bring us the opportunity to get our vehicles in for service," Teichmiller said.

"Keep in mind that in the 2020 budget, I budgeted the rent that Mill Street rang, so there's enough money in the budget for this lease," Youngren said.

As the revised lease hadn't yet been returned to Teichmiller, he suggested a motion be made to authorize him and Youngren to finalize the revised lease.

"I don't think it's subject on the grant, we're leasing this property whether we get the grant or not," commission member Steven Schreier said.

"Erv and I discussed the grant and whether we even wanted to reach out to the DOT people. I don't think that's a good idea. I think we should wait until we receive the grant, first of all, and then raise the question about the property, the location, and can we adjust it, can we amend it," Youngren said. "I don't want to raise any red flags."

A motion by Hayes, and seconded by Schreier to authorize Youngren and Teichmiller to finalize the lease for the property on Hwy. 47 in Rhinelander passed unanimously. Commission vice chair Bob Mott and members Ed Hammer and Fred Radtke were absent.

"We will press forward with that," Teichmiller said. "I'm really delighted that we found a place."

Following the vote, the Commission briefly revisited the subject of the grant.

"If we get the grant, we get the grant, and we sit down with the DOT and work out the details around which property we're dealing with," Teichmiller said. "The grant specifies the property in Eagle River. We had to identify a location, but obviously, the appraisal came in a good deal lower than the asking price and quite honestly, I can't imagine the bank would loan us the money."

Kayla Houp may be reached via email at

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