New fire station only slightly over budget

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Although the city’s $2.5 million second fire station is nearly
complete, its budget still has one small hole that will cost
Hollister almost $15,000 to plug.
Hollister – Although the city’s $2.5 million second fire station is nearly complete, its budget still has one small hole that will cost Hollister almost $15,000 to plug.

Unforeseen welding and trench-digging costs nudged the cost of construction up $14,713 from the original contract amount, the city’s project manager Luis Aguilar announced at Monday’s City Council meeting. The council voted to use Redevelopment Agency funds to pay for the additional costs, which add up to less than one percent over the originally estimated budget.

Tony Bruscia, who voted to approve the funding at his last council meeting as mayor Monday night, said he wasn’t surprised the project had gone slightly over budget.

“Every time the city enters a contract, there’s always contingencies that they allow for; there’s always some kind of cost that’s going to be unforeseen,” Bruscia explained. “Plus, and I hate to say it, but when you look at how much extra the Veterans Building renovation ended up costing us, $15,000 is really a drop in the bucket.”

The $4.4 million Vets Building renovation, which was completed in May of last year, cost the city about $600,000 more than its original price tag of $3.8 million. And councilman Robert Scattini, who is half-way into his four-year term, said the pumped-up cost of the Vets renovation had left him with a sour taste in his mouth.

“It seems to me that over the past two years, they (contractors of different city projects) always come back and ask for more money. Once they’ve got their foot in the door, it seems like they’re always coming back,” he said.

Scattini said Tuesday he had requested a break-down of what exactly the $15,000 will be going to from engineering company Stevens, Ferrone & Bailey.

“They say the subcontractor (in charge of welding steel I beams) goofed up and he took more time than was expected and budgeted for. But I think the contractor should have eaten that cost,” Scattini said. “I don’t like doing business that way.”

Aguilar said he understood Scattini’s frustration, but also said unexpected delays and costs pop up on a regular basis in the construction business.

“You can’t always anticipate what’s going to happen in construction. Sometimes when you have so many things going on, it takes more time than expected for the contractor and the subcontractor,” Aguilar said. “Typically we put in a 10-15 percent contingency for this kind of thing, so this $15,000 is really insignificant.”

Jessica Quandt covers politics for the Free Lance. Reach her at 831-637-5566 ext. 330 or at [email protected]

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