Poulsbo working to balance new city hall building budget

POULSBO — Poulsbo’s new city hall is still gearing toward a January 2010 opening, and now the city council is discussing how to fund the project’s completion.

Poulsbo Finance Director Debbie Booher said the city is following a funding structure made two years ago, when it looked like city hall would be built on land at 10th Avenue. That plan was eventually scrapped, as citizens voted in November 2006 to keep city hall downtown.

Early numbers calculated by Council Member Dale Rudolph project that with inflation and increasing costs, the new city hall’s price tag could bear a 2 percent comparative price increase.

The original budget was set at about $12.4 million, but projections now land at about $12.7 million — the difference being roughly $300,000.

Booher said the council is looking at ways to address the situation. Options include cutting costs, using a different funding structure and selling unused city property, a likely topic already on the table.

“Those are all the questions that we’re trying to get to the bottom to answer,” she said.

The city has already taken out bonds to fund land purchases and site development, and will issue another to cover construction, though the amount is not yet determined, she said.

Poulsbo Mayor Kathryn Quade said the project is still basically on target.

“We’re within range, given inflation, given the cost of materials and so forth,” she said. A more definite cost estimate from the Lewis Architecture team is expected next week.

Quade also said the city is currently looking at coordinating onsite and offsite improvements. Offsite improvements could include upgrades to road and sewer systems in the surrounding Third Avenue and Moe Street area.

The city hall building itself is nearing the end of schematic design stages, and a detailed “unveiling” isn’t far off. The groundbreaking is slated for September.

“This is where it all starts to come together,” Quade said. “It continues to have top priority. Everyone’s working very hard and very much in unison.”

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