By: Sharon Aron Baron
On Wednesday, the commission voted to move forward with the construction of the new municipal complex.
Four construction bids came in ranging from $31 to $35 million with the commission awarding the contract to the lowest bidder, Kaufman Lynn Construction based out of Boca Raton. However, once furniture and technology was added into the 5-story, 74,000 square foot complex with a 607-space parking garage, the price soared to $38 million.
Dan Daley stressed that taxes will not be raised to pay for the complex. “We don’t have to raise taxes to make this happen…to finally make this happen.”
With already $3 million and at least two years of staff time invested into the project which was initially $28 million, the commission voted for a larger parking garage for an additional $4 million in 2015 making the total cost $32 million which was budgeted by the city. They will then borrow another $10 million on a capital revenue note through 2020. Other monies received toward the project include up to $5 million for the sale of the land that the current city hall sits on, as well as $4 million as part of a tri-party agreement to pay for the parking garage. The building would be owned outright in 20 years said Deputy City Manager Susan Grant.
Delays in building the municipal complex have brought price increases as construction costs have been rising. “…Now we’re faced with increases that I can’t control,” said Commissioner Joy Carter. “Waiting will make this much worse for us, because of labor and supplies [will increase] as well as the cost in interest rates.”
Carter said that the building they were currently in was never designed as a city hall and redesigning it would never fix the 72 pages of code violations that it had.
Mayor Skip Campbell who voted against the municipal complex in the past, said that he wanted everyone to know that it was a different concept and that he was voting yes.
“My comment is this: to be a statesmen is someone who is worried about the next generation, not about the next election, and what happened today is something that the next generation will be using – this city hall. It was a hard vote but I believe it was the proper vote based on present economic activities and realities.”