Cost overload? Jonesborough board digs into town garage project funding

Jessica Fuller • May 14, 2018 at 10:26 PM

One month after moving forward with a bid on three new buildings, including the new town garage, members of the Jonesborough Board of Mayor and Aldermen and town staff discussed whether the project will fit within the monetary constraints set earlier this year. 

Alderman David Sell brought the issue up during aldermen comments at the beginning of the meeting, telling the other board members that the issue had been troubling him over the weekend. In January, the board passed the go-ahead to start bidding the projected $750,000 plan to move the overcrowded garage and several other town operations to a 19-acre property on the west side of town. After bids came in, the board proceeded with a bid from Buck Steel last month to begin construction on the project. 

Sell said he looked closer at the contract and noticed the red roof would tack on another $19,000 to the project. Town administrator Bob Browning said the quote from the company came back with a color chart for the roof, but he said town staff didn’t realize selecting a roof color would increase the price of the project.

“There wasn’t anything in that quote that would have indicated that the roof wouldn’t have a color,” Browning said during the meeting. 

Browning said he selected a color for two reasons: One, because the contractor was on a time constraint to order materials the day after the board passed the bid and two, the building’s roof will be visible from Old State Route 34 and the board had discussed making sure the new buildings wouldn’t negatively impact the surrounding community. 

Sell asked if it was too late to reverse the decision on roof color, and Browning said while he wasn’t sure, the contractors had told him the materials would be ordered that day. 

“I want everything to look good too, but here’s my take on that. I got to thinking about this . . . metal on a roof will fade,” Sell said. “I don’t care what it is or how long it’s been there, it’s going to fade.” 

Sell went on to question whether the project to build the three buildings — the Fleet Maintenance building, the equipment shed building and the wastewater building — would fit within the $750,000 confines set earlier this year. Browning estimated labor costs to pour the concrete pad would be about $10,500, and Craig Ford gave a rough estimate of $100,000 for the cost of concrete for the pads. 

Browning said there were “a number of things” that weren’t included in the original estimate because he didn’t have figures for everything associated with the project. Mayor Chuck Vest concluded that the project would probably go over the allotted $750,000, and that would be something to take into consideration when planning the budget. 

Sell said he was concerned with the project financially getting out of hand. He said he understands the new buildings were needed, but said he wanted to avoid a “major cost overload.”

“I don’t like playing with taxpayer dollars,” Sell said. “Our job is to be a good steward, and that’s what I’m trying to do.” 


Email Jessica Fuller at [email protected] Follow Jessica on Twitter @fullerjf91. Like her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jfullerJCP.

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