Forks Public Works Garage is $1.8 million over Budget
Forks Township Supervisors express outrage over the costs of the new public works garage Thursday and wonder whether construction could be shut down.
Forks Township's public works garage, now under construction, is $1.8 million over budget, township supervisors reported at their meeting Thursday night.
Finance manager Jim Farley informed the board that the garage, which would centralize public works under one roof – the department currently uses four buildings around the township – said the final projected cost for the building is $4.8 million.
The project had started $1 million over budget because the lowest bid for construction was $4.75 million, but the township had only budgeted $3.7 million.
But with solicitor fees, plus architectural, engineering and miscellaneous costs, the total will hit about $5.5 million, Farley said.
"At this time, we want to make it known to the public that we have a $1.8 million shortfall," Supervisors Chairman Erik Chuss told the 10 people in the audience. "We need to identify any means of funding to make up for the shortfall."
That enraged new supervisor John O'Neil.
"To miss a figure by nearly $2 million is totally unacceptable," he said. "We were told $3.7 million and it comes in at $5.5 million? We're doing our taxpayers a big injustice."
Supervisor Robert Egolf, who along with Chuss voted against the project, said, "When I think about that building, I don't feel too comfortable."
Supervisors Vice Chairman Dan Martyak wondered whether the project could be shut down.
"I believe we can come up with an alternative plan," Martyak said. "If we can't shut it down, then how do we pay for this problem?"
Chuss said that it's too late to halt construction since all contracts have been signed. Solicitor Karl Kline agreed.
"We were committed once we signed the contracts," Chuss said. "Stopping and restarting could make the cost even higher. It's going to be a beautiful building. The cost is just excessive. But it would be a risk to stop."
After the meeting, Supervisor David Billings, who voted for the project, stated that he had made the best decision he could with the information he had.
"I approved it for $4.8 million, knowing that we might have to borrow $1 million," he said. "Now, I would have voted ‘no.’ It's way too much money and very unfortunate."
What do you think about the cost of Forks Township’s projects? Tell us in comments.