The city of Union and Scenic Regional Library are expected to formalize an agreement to split the cost of a digital sign at the new Union library. 

A little over a year ago, Scenic Regional Library Director Steve Campbell approached the city about doing a cost-share to construct a digital sign along the Highway 47 to advertise the library and its events. At the personnel, finance and public works committee meeting Monday, Jan. 6, Union City Administrator Russell Rost said progress had been made on the project.

The city is required to have competitive bids so it does not work with one vender directly. Rost told aldermen met with Campbell Monday to discuss about project. 

Rost said only two bids were received for the project stating. “Ziglin Signs is still the lowest and best bid,” he said. 

The city is expecting to have the final bid documentation within the next week or so, according to Rost.

The city has yet to formally accept a budget amendment approving the spending but is expected to approve the change this month.  

Project Background

Campbell first approached the city in late 2018 to see if a cost share would be possible. He said the sign was far too expensive for the library to fund itself and proposed a split project between the city and the library.

Campbell told the committee the original plan was to erect a digital sign along the highway. He said it’s a high-traffic area so the sign would be on a pole and used to advertise library events. 

He added the sign wasn’t put in the library’s budget originally. He said the Union Friends of the Library offered to pay for the sign, but the cost was much higher than anticipated.

If the city split the cost, Campbell said they could split what is promoted on the sign as well. Half of the display time could be reserved for promoting library events, while the other half would promote city events.

Both the city and library would have their logos on the sign. Campbell said the sign would be digital and in color. It will resemble the sign at Veterans Memorial Park.

Aldermen initially expressed interest in working with the library, but didn’t formally agree to the plan. The city wanted to see how its finances looked before committing money for the sign.

Rost said in November 2019 that with the city hall project bids coming in way under cost estimates and the performance of the current year’s budget, the city should have the money to pay its share.

The city’s share was expected to be around $20,000. In November Alderman Bob Marquart said he thought the $20,000 is “pretty reasonable.” 

The rest of the board agreed and backed the plan. They instructed Rost to move forward and bring an agreement to a future meeting.

The plan hit a hiccup when the city discovered two issues. First the proposed location was in an easement. 

If the sign were ultimately built in the easement, it could create future problems. Rost said at some point in the future, the owners could be forced to relocate the sign.

With the city being a co-owner of the sign, he said the city would have to help pay the expenses of relocating the sign. Rost said the city would like to eliminate that possibility so a new location was chosen.

The other issue involved the bidding. Original the library didn’t bid out the work and instead worked directly with Ziglin Signs.

In order to comply with the city’s purchasing policy, the city requested the library seek bids. 

With those issues wrapped up, the project can move forward.