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Front Page » January 26, 2006 » Local News » Helper reviews city's pool costs
Published 3,539 days ago

Helper reviews city's pool costs

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Sun Advocate reporter

Debris and snow currently fill Helper's abandoned swimming pool. The city's proposed pool project has a completion date slated before spring 2007. After moving through the planning stages, the Helper city swimming pool project is going to bid for a general contractor and construction manager.

Helper city council approved a measure last week that could result in cost and time savings for the city's proposed swimming pool.

Concerns regarding the increasing cost of the pool came before the council's regular meeting on Jan. 19.

As the plans for the pool have entered the design phase, councilmembers are concerned that any delay will result in an unwarranted acceleration of cost to the city.

The increases are due to constantly rising costs in material and labor.

"Every month we lose, we're losing four tenths of a percent of our budget," said councilmember Dean Armstrong.

While .4 percent may not seem like a large amount, when a project has a budget of $1 million, the city is in effect losing $40,000 of its budget every month.

As work has moved forward through the planning stages, every action taken regarding the pool has had to come before the council.

That raised some concern since new information regarding the pool can come in just a few days after the council meets, but often isn't heard until weeks later, when the council meets again.

Armstrong moved that the city advertise for geo-technical engineering services and a general contractor and construction management team.

In the case of the geo-technical engineering services, Armstrong said that the city was behind schedule and should have advertised for the services earlier.

However, according to Armstrong, the prompt advertisement for a general contractor and construction management team could result in significant cost and time savings to the city.

Armstrong explained that the management team proposed removes some of the burden for increased costs from the city and places on the construction manager and general contractor.

To create the proposed team, various contractors can bid for either construction management or general contracting contracts with the city. Two entities will be selected to form a team - one to manage the construction, the other to act as general contractor.

Armstrong explained that the team is required to keep costs at or below the bid amounts. He explained that under the proposed model, the contractor and construction manager will both be responsible for any costs that exceed the bid amounts.

The contractor-management team proposed by Armstrong is in many ways different from the traditional model used by governments. In many, a project manager is hired separate from the general contractor. The project manager has no incentive to keep costs below budget because the government entity will have to absorb costs.

Armstrong explained that the proposed contractor-management team creates an incentive for construction to be completed under budget and ahead of schedule, since the construction manager and general contractor will be liable for any overages.

In an unrelated matter, the council reviewed an ongoing matter regarding billboards on U.S. Highway 6 advertising for the city. Mayor Mike Dalpiaz explained that the billboard just south of the city is in poor shape.

The mayor told councilmembers that he had spoken with Angelo Kiahtipes, who manages the other half of the billboard, to find out what the costs would be to install new content on the board.

The billboard is approximately 14 feet by 48 feet. Dalpiaz explained that the paint is peeling off of the wood billboard. He added that a local designer, Karen Templeton, has been involved in the design of many area billboard. The total cost of design, materials and installation is estimated at $1,200.

A special projects budget, administered by the city recorder's office, will be used to cover the initial costs, but councilmembers have been asked to look at their budgets to try to find a few hundred dollars that can offset the expense. The council approved the expenditure of the special project funds, not to exceed $1,500.

Another billboard closer to Price is not scheduled to be redesigned. the mayor told councilmembers that the city received a bill for $2,000 for the billboard recently. However, it was unclear at the meeting who, if anyone, owes the money.

The contract for the billboard was reported to have expired in February 2005. With no contract in place, it was left unknown whether the city was responsible for the charges on the bill.

The mayor, in a separate matter, discussed the appointments of councilmembers to committees and assigned responsibilities. All councilmembers will site on the redevelopment agency board and economic development board.

Dalpiaz will act as the city's public safety administrator and sit on the water improvement district board.

Armstrong, who is new to the council, will sit on the library board, oversee the library's budget and personnel, sit on the city's planning and zoning board and act as chair of the economic development board and RDA board.

Also newly sworn in as a councilmember, John Jones will oversee all of the newly formed public works department. Previously, the street department and the water department were separate entities. That changes this year with the two departments being combined under the umbrella of public works. Orlando Ochoa was promoted as director of the newly formed department. The creation of the new department will eliminate redundant positions and allows the city to reduce its personnel by eliminating one position. In the process of redistributing staff, appropriate wage increases were approved for employees taking on new responsibilities.

Jones will act as chair of the Helper Arts Festival committee on even-numbered years, rotating odd numbered-years with Armstrong.

Councilmember Chuck Buchannan will oversee the city's electrical department and historic preservation committee.

Bob Farrell will oversee the city's recreation department, parks and cemetery.

The senior councilmember, Kirk Mascaro, will oversee the building department, the Rio Theater and the museum. He will sit on the museum board and retain his position on the carbon county recreation board. Further, Mascaro will oversee the electric light parade and serve as mayor pro tempore.

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