City Council approves additional $1.4 million in taxpayer money for over-budget, delayed Elk Grove Aquatics Center

December 12, 2018 |

With scant deliberation following a lengthy presentation during their Wednesday, December 12 meeting, the Elk Grove City Council approved additional funding for the city's long-delayed and over budget aquatics center.

By a 5 - 0 vote, the city council approved a request from public works director Bob Murdoch to fund an additional $1.4 million for the aquatics facility, which is the centerpiece of Elk Grove's long-planned civic center. The still unnamed complex of buildings is located on the near the southeast corner of Elk Grove Boulevard and Big Horn Boulevard in the city's Laguna Ridge neighborhood. 

During his presentation, public works director Bob Murdoch outlined the reasons why the additional funding was needed. Specifically, the construction costs for the swimming facility and the commons area was planned at $40.6 million, but have subsequently have ballooned to $42 million.
Elk Grove public works director Bob Murdoch said the
additional $1.4 million was needed to get the aquatic
center project across "the finish line." 

According to Murdoch, the swimming facility contractor, Arntz Builders, was scheduled to complete construction by August 11, 2018, which included agreed upon extensions. Completion has again been pushed back to sometime in February 2019.

"The contract completion date, currently, with approved change orders is, and approved extensions is August 11, 2018," Murdoch told the city council. "We do not anticipate finishing that project at least until February 2019, and that is based on the contractor's current schedule, and quite frankly I don't have a lot of faith in their current schedule."

Murdoch noted the city's public works department has been dealing with Arntz Builders since March of 2017 and "we have yet to get a schedule we believe." He added the project is about 90-percent complete and the additional funding was needed to ensure its completion. 

The contract, according to Murdoch, has a contingency of $7,500 per day penalty for each calendar day delay. Accrual of the penalties started on August 11, and runs through the completion date. 

Noting the $7,500 per day damages contingency, Council Member Darren Suen asked Murdoch if the contractor to could pay the $1.4 million instead of the city. Murdoch said the recovery of the penalties is not pursued until the completion of the project.  

Funding for the cost overruns will be paid for by funds from two public works projects that came in under budget. Separately, the city council also approved $410,000 in additional funding for a wifi system for the civic center campus.    

"I want to get this to the finish line, this is what we need, unless city staff takes this over," Murdoch said. "This is what we need to get to the end."  

During their brief deliberations, Vice Mayor Pat Hume said he supported Murdoch's request based on the $7,500 per day penalty that could recover most of the cost overruns. 

"The only way I can even consciously vote to approve this change, other than wanting to see it finished, is the idea that we are going to be diligent on the backend to make sure we do recoup what is rightfully ours," he said.









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2 comments

D.J. Blutarsky said...

Maybe the city can use the same attorney they used to recover the lost $400,000 from the consultant who ripped the city off for the feasibility study! What did they settle for? Netted about $5,000?

Word's out: Don't mess with the Grove!

Capt. Benjamin L. Willard said...

After watching this item last night, there are a few things worth noting.

Aside from Mr. Detrick and Mr. Hume feigning mild indignation with the delays and cost overruns, who among the city councilmembers have any interest or tangible record in oversight? Having this group provide oversight on the public works department and their prime contractor the Willdan Group, or any city department is roughly the equivalent as Congressman Devin Nunes doing his sworn duty of oversight on the Presidency. Sad!

To expand on Mr./Ms. Blutarsky’s comments, also conspicuously absent from the discussion was city attorney Mr. Jonathan Hobbs. I suppose Mr. Hobbs was happy none of the councilmembers asked him about possible litigation against Willdan or Arntz lest he step into another pile of “material breach”.

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