Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Fort Oglethorpe’s elected officials adopted on third and final reading a $13.6 million budget for 2013.
Approval of the fiscal year 2013 budget, which coincides with the calendar year, had been delayed due to questions about how the amount of employee raises would be determined. As adopted, the budget places in abeyance a set sum for raises that will be awarded in the spring.
After dealing with next year’s budget, the City Council dealt with a surprise related to construction of a new maintenance shop for city vehicles.
For years, councilmen have been in agreement that the city needs such a facility as it will improve the ability to repair and maintain city-owned equipment, thereby protecting the public’s investment.
Already the shop being built at the end of Howard Drive has required upgrading utilities as part of site preparation, but now a question regarding foundation work required council action.
The contractor has proposed sinking piers to bedrock before pouring the concrete slab that will serve as the shop’s floor. Such an addition is needed because construction is being done on the site of a former sewer treatment plant and is subject to settling, according to City Manager Ron Goulart.
The builder can complete the job without the city spending an additional $38,000 to reinforce the foundation, but doing so could result in structural problems in the future, Goulart said.
Councilman Johnnie “Red” Smith, a longtime supporter of the project, said every firm that bid on the job should have been aware of core drillings made at the site and included the remedial work when figuring the cost.
“It makes no sense that so many projects require spending more than the original bid,” Smith said.
Councilman Eddie Stinnett, while not thrilled with the prospect of spending more, said he thought it would not be sensible to refuse approving the change order.
“There is always something on job like this that you can’t foresee,” he said.
Stinnett said when talking about a building having a price tag of about $766,000 it would be foolish not to spend $38,000 then to “build it and have it fall down.”
Councilman Louis Hamm offered his opinion that the original bids should have included costs that engineering reports showed were needed.
Charles Sharrock told his fellow council members that the building could be completed as bid, but it might not last.
“If we can spend $38,000 and get a stronger building, do it,” he said.
The Council, by a 3-2 vote, approved the change order. Smith and Hamm voted against approval while Stinnett, Sharrock and Councilman Earl Gray favored paying for a stronger foundation.