ROBERTSDALE, Alabama — Robertsdale Mayor Charles Murphy assured residents at the Monday, Jan. 6 council meeting that the city will have no problem making up the cost for the new public works complex, despite the fact that the first phase of the project came in nearly $1 million over budget.
Bids were opened Thursday, Dec. 19 for the 23,000 square-foot administration office for the complex, which will be located on property the city owns on Chicago street north of the police station. Five bids were opened for the project. The council voted unanimously on Jan. 6 to accept the low bid from Phil Harris Construction Inc. of Gulf Shores of $2.833 million, which is around $978,000 over the budgeted amount of just under $1.875 million for the project.
“Right now, we have $1.4 million in projects budgeted for 2020 that the city will be able to pay for without having to borrow any money,” Murphy said. “We anticipate having another $1.4 million to pay for projects in 2021. I believe that if we can take some of that money for this project, we should be OK.”
The remainder of the project, which includes five additional buildings, two warehouses, a mechanic shop, equipment shed and maintenance shop, will come in slightly under budget, pushing the total cost of the project from an estimated $3.8 million to around $4.7 million.
The project also includes $326,000 in contingency costs, which Murphy said he hopes the city will not have to use.
“There’s always going to be some overage when you’re dealing with a project like this,” he said, “but we’re hoping we can keep that to a minimum.”
Site work on the project, which is considered to be Phase 2 of an improvement project surrounding Honeybee Park, has already begun. Murphy said he hopes to have the project completed by the end of this year.
The city is currently in the application process for a USDA loan to pay for the project. As part of the process, the city was required to present certification of the council minutes from the Jan. 6 meeting to the USDA. A special meeting was called for Thursday, Jan. 9 for that purpose.
Phase 3 of the project, which will include an amphitheater, parking and restroom facilities, has also been scheduled as a $1 million cash capital expenditure project for fiscal year 2020.
While the project was scheduled for completion as part of the city’s Centennial Celebration in 2021, slight delays in the project will likely push the completion back to the end of the year, Murphy said.
In other business Jan. 6, the council:
•Approved a franchise agreement with Medicacom in the amount of $21,000.
•Approved a donation request from the Robertsdale High School softball team in the amount of $1,000.
•Approved a sponsorship request from Leadership Baldwin for the annual Clays for A’s event, which will be held beginning at 11:30 a.m. March 27 at Bushy Creek Clays in Perdido. The event is a benefit for Baldwin County’s education foundations, which includes the Central Baldwin Education Foundation.
•Addressed concerns of resident Tim Brown. Brown asked if there was an ordinance in the city, prohibiting political signs on private property by individuals since the qualifying period for the 2020 election has not yet begun. City attorney Ken Raines told Brown that while there was an ordinance in place, since there was a similar ordinance being contested in the state, the city would not prohibit the sign based on content as long as the sign was on private property and not in the city’s right of way.