Commerce – Nearly six months behind schedule and close to a million dollars over-budget, the Commerce City Council accepted a guaranteed maximum price agreement to begin construction on the new City Hall and Public Safety Building. Two items were on last night's regular meeting agenda concerning the new facilities. One was to allocate additional money for the project and the other to accept a guaranteed maximum price agreement from general contractor Harrison, Walker and Harper.
The original budget for the entire project, including non-construction costs, was just over $4.9 million. Now, the total cost is projected to come in at around $5.9 million. That total includes $750,000 of extra money to be paid by the city, along with interest gained over the past months while available money was in the bank.
Councilman Hector Arce was dismayed that the project was so far over-budget.
ARCE: I just have a problem, we're starting this building a million dollars over-budget. That just really blows me away. Before we even start, we're a million dollars over and we don't even have the stuff inside the building.
Mayor Sheryl Zelhart said it is too late to start over at this point.
ZELHART: At this point in time, I think going back and trying to do this again we would be doing nothing but incurring more indirect expenses, and we will not have the money available for the construction.
Council members Kay Sanders and Penny Belcher echoed those sentiments, saying that to start over now would cost more money and leave the city with less than adequate facilities.
Councilman John Sands said he did not want to allocate funds and potentially raise taxes again without knowing exactly where those monies would go.
At vote on the issue, Sanders, Belcher, and Zelhart all voted to allocate extra funds to the project while Arce and Sands voted against the item. Once money was allocated, only Arce voted against entering into the construction agreement with Harrison, Walker and Harper.
Construction on the new facilities is expected to begin immediately.