Sunday, October 07, 2018

Ruffini Parking Lot Nearly $200,000 More Expensive than 2018 CIP Budget

Staff presented San Angelo's City Council with an October surprise, a $279,000 parking lot for the Ruffini Chapel and Station 618 Senior Center.  The background information made no mention of the history of the project under a prior City Council.

The December 6, 2016 City Council background packet stated:

"This project, to construct the parking area, is funded and moving forward."

The December 2016 agenda item was for an amendment to the Old Town Conservancy agreement allowing for construction of the chapel. 

"There is no cost to the City for approving the amendment to the agreement. In fact, approving this item will add funding from the Conservancy for development of the City property.In terms of development of the City property, $175,000 was allocated to abate and demolish the old building (which has been accomplished) and to develop the parking lot. At present, about $90,000 remains for development.

Staff also omitted the $85,000 capital improvement budget for Station 618 parking lot (CIP 2018-2023) approved by this Council in February 2018.  Assistant City Manager Rick Weise left out these key details in representing the project to Council.

Staff informed the public via a Standard Times article by Parks Chief Carl White.  His piece on 9-27-18 stated:

The property upon which it sits was acquired by the City about 20 years ago for construction of a parking lot. That budgeted parking lot project, pending successful bid and Council approval, is planned to begin in the late summer or early fall. 
Neither the newspaper piece or staff's presentation gave an explanation as to the scope of project changes that drove it from $85,000 to nearly $280,000. 

Weise did say they could reduce the project some by eliminating a few decorative planters such that it would give them more parking spaces.  Don't planners used site specifications/requirements, like the number of parking spaces required for optimal/peak use, to design a project?

Apparently the requirement is spending excess city dollars without detailing the history of a nearly $300,000 project and why it changed so dramatically in such a short period of time. 

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