SYLACAUGA – The City Council is seeking estimates on the cost to repair and improve various city-owned buildings, while working to keep costs down.
The council discussed the projects in a work session Tuesday, then during its regular meeting that followed authorized the seeking of bids. The projects are based upon recommendations from interim building and code Director Mike Whetstone in conjunction with Lathan & Associates.
The projects include replacing HVAC units along with a new roof at the B.B. Comer Memorial Library, a new roof over the Council Chamber at the Municipal Complex, improvements at the Comer Museum and Arts Center, a new gym floor at the J. Craig Smith Community Center and new lighting at the Comer Softball Complex.
Comer Library’s HVAC units, which are failing, are 1979 units that have been well-maintained but are past their prime at 39 years of age.
A representative of Lathan & Associates offered a suggestion to the council that could save the city money.
His suggested the municipality bid the work as one project, while putting each job in as an alternate. The council could then make a decision on whether to do all of the alternates or pick and choose the ones to complete. He said a single proposal for the city to look at with one bid and breakout alternatives could keep costs down.
Whetstone and the Lathan representative both said the city did not need to delay the roofing projects.
“When a roof goes bad, it gets worse quickly. The longer you wait, the worse it gets, and the cost goes up,” Whetstone said.
Whetstone added that once the city spends money on these projects, then the costs should be zero for 15 years.
Funding for these capital improvement projects is coming from a $12.1 million financing package the city approved last year to take advantage of lower interest rates and provide funds for endeavors just like these.
When the city completed the financing package, Mayor Jim Heigl said, “We have many priorities, and funding is always a challenge. We now look forward to investing in key projects to help maximize our city’s potential and a progressive, welcoming environment as expansion and job growth continue.”
Council President Lee Perryman said the council and mayor work hard to find ways to fund necessary projects.
The proceeds from the financing package are also being used to fund a $4 million road paving project.