News

Sticker shock for City Hall?

Construction costs may be on the up, but the city of Snoqualmie still got some sticker shock from the bidders to build a new City Hall.

The lowest bid on the new City Hall, planned for downtown Snoqualmie, came in a whopping $1 million higher than the predicted $3.9 million cost. That’s a 27 percent difference.

Originally leaning toward recommending rejection of the bids, Snoqualmie City Administrator Bob Larson said city staff will present information to the council council on ways to pay for the extra $1 million cost, at their Monday, May 12, regular meeting.

The city has already spent $750,000 to design the building and prepare the site, where Snoqualmie’s volunteer fire station once stood.

“The cost climate is not getting any better,” Larson said. “We’re finding out that those bids came from six good, qualified, commercial companies. We’ve got to use that as a barometer of the market that’s out there.”

Still, the city paid for a consultant to keep costs in line with reality, and worked hard to trim fat from the City Hall project, to the tune of removing 2,000 square feet from the original recommendations.

“We took out some of what I call the meat,” Larson said.

Still, he told council members that there are benefits to the River Street design, including revitalizing downtown, consolidating city staff and creating economies of scale, at Snoqualmie’s April 28 regular meeting.

“We tried to find that extra million to get that bid,” Larson said.

There are ways to pay for the building, including using up to $2.9 million in council-approved bonds, to be paid for with funds from the Real Estate Excise Tax, or REET, and sale of the old City Hall, and mitigation funds. New residential construction may be cooling, but more commercial developments are coming online in Snoqualmie, according to Larson.

The Council could free up funds for City Hall by delaying some street and sidewalk improvement projects, none which would be critical repairs, according to Larson.

“We’re taking a very conservative approach to all of this,” he said.

The Council has until May 16 to make a decision whether to accept, or reject, the City Hall bids, which were put out in February.

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