Valley Falls City Hall construction expected to exceed cost limit
by Clarke Davis
Projected cost overruns on the new city office at Valley Falls has the mayor and council wondering if they will be moving into an unfinished building.
Councilwoman Lucy Thomas said she requested a breakdown on cost figures from the contractor, Heinen Custom Operations Inc., a week ago and got the bad news.
“I wanted to know where we stood,” she said during the July 11 meeting
She found out that if all stays on schedule the project will run $12,000 over the $100,000 cap the council had put on the project.
The project has reached the point of finishing drywall and painting this week. Left are the trim, floor covering, cabinetry and other miscellaneous.
Mayor Charles Stutesman was quick to say that the $100,000 figure was a “hard cap” and the council needs to live with it.
The council is financing the project with reserve city funds and skipped doing street projects this year. City administrator Chris Channell said spending beyond the $100,000 will reduce carryover into next year’s budget and affect the mill levy.
He said 2 mills will raise $10,000 of the overrun.
Heinen’s figures show that the work so far has cost $73,500 and there is approximately $39,000 left to finish the building.
The city spent approximately $50,000 last year to raze the vacated building at 417 Broadway, clean up the debris, and enclose the gap between two business buildings with a new roof.
The council was to meet again July 18 at which time more discussion about the budget was expected.
Action is being taken against the property owner at 501 Mulberry Street where the city believes there are violations of the health, environmental, and minimum housing codes.
The owner, Lorene Freeborn, is being informed of the penalties involved and that the violations may “include demolition of the structure.”
In other business, the council:
—Voted to proceed with a fire hydrant in the industrial park near Valley Truck & Trailer.
—Allowed the street to be blocked in front of Mark’s Repair for the ninth annual appreciation party July 28.
—Heard a report from Thomas and the Economic Development Committee about a new pool at Frankfort built for under $1 million. A meeting will be held Aug. 9 to further explore options concerning a new swimming pool.
—Discussed the water shut-off policy at the mayor’s request without a change. There were 12 shut-offs this month, down from 20. The mayor wanted to know if excessive heat should be a consideration, but the council believes the policy is fair.
Council members absent were Shawn Jepson and Mike Hahn.
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