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The City of Alexander City is looking at a potential contractor after receiving bids from a few companies on the municipal complex Thursday afternoon.

The City of Alexander City is looking at a potential contractor after receiving bids from a few companies on the municipal complex Thursday afternoon.

“We ended up with four companies submitting bids,” Mayor Tommy Spraggins said. “One company ended up being (lower) than the others … We’re not saying that company is definitely chosen but our architects are vetting them out.”

According to Spraggins, the bid from Central Contracting out of Wetumpka was around 7 to 10% lower than the bids from the other three companies. Spraggins told the council at Thursday’s work session Central Contracting’s bid came in at about $750,000 higher, or about 8% higher, than what the city’s estimates were.

No decision has been made on the bidder, Spraggins said. There has not been time to review bids and there has not been a meeting yet for the council to take it up.

The municipal complex will be housed in the 85,000-square foot former Russell Sales Office located on U.S. Highway 280. This move was approved by the council as a way to consolidate all city departments.

In April the council approved $9.1 million to spend on the project but in August architects from JMR+H announced the municipal complex will cost more than originally budgeted. The cost will go up because the third floor will be built out and mostly occupied instead of remaining vacant; a new generator is needed for E911 and dispatch services; and when engineers got a chance to study the building more closely after the original estimate was made, they found problems that must be corrected.

The council’s current dilemma is deciding what should be trimmed or cut from the proposed 2020 fiscal year budget so additional funds needed for the complex make that even more of a tall task. 

Spraggins and finance director Sandy Stanbrough said about $1.8 million more is needed for the municipal complex.

The city is now looking at what projects it can do itself to save money on the project.

“Some of these alternates that we have, we are seriously looking at doing a few of them internally,” Spraggins said, “we think maybe (for) a less price than what the contractor has bid.”

Some of the projects the city will look at potentially doing internally include landscaping and irrigation, fountain pump rehab and possibly the data cabling. This is something the city is looking at right now in order to save money where it can.

“We may be able to reduce (the alternates) a little bit,” Spraggins said.

The municipal complex project was expanded to include adding to the third floor which put more cost on the project. The third floor was originally going to remain vacant and held for future growth but after the architects met with department heads it was decided to use it for public works, utilities, finance, information technology, meter readers, the city judge, purchasing, code enforcement and file storage.

“Not many times will our city ever have the opportunity to do something like the municipal complex,” Spraggins said. “That’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity there.”

The council once again discussed appropriations, capital expenses and operating expenses at the work session and was able to whittle the proposed budget down a bit.

Spraggins said the way it was trimmed down was by realizing some of the projects can’t possibly be completed in the next fiscal year.

One of the projects Spraggins proposed to take out was repairs at the former Russell Guest House. He said despite it being something that needs to be done and something the city wishes to do, he doesn’t think it can be completed in the next fiscal year.

“A lot of work has been put into (fine tuning) the budget,” Spraggins said. “We’re trying to get closer and closer to a number we feel comfortable with as a city and a council moving forward.”

The council will meet for another work session 4:30 p.m. Wednesday. The next meeting of the city council is 5:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 7 where it will vote on the budget.

Santana Wood is the managing editor of The Outlook.