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Poulsbo City Hall on Third and Moe? ‘Balderdash!’
Citizens of Poulsbo I hope you are as appalled as I am by the latest news that the estimated cost of our new downtown city hall is nearly $17 million!
Does anyone remember that in the fall of 2006 a group of downtown proponents led us to believe that the $12 million to build a new city hall on 10th Avenue was much too costly and that it could be done less expensively downtown?
It’s interesting to observe that those very vocal downtown proponents seem to have vanished from the scene and have left the bag to be held by the mayor and five of the remaining city council members who were responsible for the decision to scrap the 10th Avenue plan.
You may remember that the vote that we were pushed into in 2006 was an advisory vote and not a binding one.
Nevertheless, the decision was made to press on for a downtown site even though there was no plan and no real knowledge of what the costs might be. I’ve also noted that there is a rationalization in that the “current cost projection is more conclusive than others in the past.”
To that I say “balderdash!”
The cost projection of the 10th Avenue City Hall was quite conclusive and the city was within several weeks of issuing the request for proposals for the site preparation work in April 2006 when the project was put on hold. At that time the architects (BLRB) had advised that construction costs were increasing at about 10 percent per year and the intervening two years seems to have verified that forecast. With the current high cost of oil and the expectation of steady increases does anyone really think that the $17 million now projected for the city hall cost will hold up?
You may also remember that future growth was a basic consideration of the 10th Avenue plan and the city hall was being designed to meet the city’s requirement for the next 50 years.
For a city administration that touts itself as “visionary,” perhaps that vision should be a bit more focused on the next 100 years than on the past 100! Resurrecting the 10th Avenue city hall plan makes good sense and yes, it will now cost more than the $12 million projected in 2006 due to the escalating construction costs but the sooner that plan gets under way the better off we’ll all be.
Had our mayor and city council done the prudent thing in 2006 we would have had a new city hall last October and our city employees would not be continuing to work in an outdated and unsafe building. In addition to providing room for future growth there would also be room to build a new police station on the adjacent city owned site and thus have all our command and control functions co-located with the emergency operating center in the fire station.
We deserve more than flimsy excuses for allowing perhaps three years and unknown millions more of our dollars to be wasted on the 3rd and Moe plan.
Please insist that our mayor and city council stop wasting our city money!