Opinion

Poulsbo City Hall construction set ... now the dirt’s really going to fly

On Sept. 9, the dirt will start to fly at Moe Street and Third Avenue. Golden shovels will plunge into the earth, setting forth a series of events that will (finally) result in Poulsbo’s getting a new city hall.

The benefits of a city hall are copious, among them being desks — and employees for that matter — won’t be shoved into broom closets that have been converted to “offices.”

In addition to having the physical space needed to run the operations of a growing city, there’s also an emotional aspect to a new city hall.

Cities should, in fact, have a flagship building that employees can be proud to work in. Residents, too, have the right to pay their water bill in a building with which they are impressed.

And now it’s finally going to happen. After years of discussion over this place or that, the city is bulldozing dirt. It’s on to the construction phase with them.

Now that the who, what, when, where and why have all been answered, there’s only one, little-bitty question remaining. But that question is quite a large one.

Exactly how much will this project cost?

Initially, the new structure from start to finish was about $12 million. Time passed. Things changed. The need for a new city hall remained the same. The price tag loafed along to somewhere about $17 million. This estimate is the one presented before construction even begins.

Anyone who’s built or renovated a house knows there is much stress to be derived from the unexpected expenses. These are the expenses that can’t be predicted or prevented. They just happen.

As a result of the new estimated cost — a final, final estimated cost is expected next week — much scrambling and discussion ensued.

Being able to cover the estimated cost hinges on a few other things that need to happen first.

The city has to raise some cash by selling some land, particularly the plot on 10th Avenue — originally intended as the site of the new city hall.

Harrison Medical Center is interested in that land to build a much-needed cancer care center and outpatient care center here in the North End.

Another piece of the funding puzzle is for the city to take out $9.2 million in bonds. Bonds are, essentially, a loan the city takes out and the citizens pay back.

These things might happen, and that will be all well and good. Fantastic, even.

While it may seem irresponsible to begin a project of this magnitude before getting a final price tag, we’ll forgive the city ... just this once.

The Poulsbo populace has waited so very long for this project that it’s better to start sooner than never.

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