Town Hall renovations invoice up by $64,000

Moving Town Hall to its new location at the old Ponoka Elementary School building cost more than anticipated.

Moving Town Hall to its new location at the old Ponoka Elementary School building cost more than anticipated.

Council originally approved $120,000 for the move last year after reports of the building’s air quality deemed it unfit to work in, but those costs have increased by another $64,114.

“It came in over scope of what was budgeted,” said Sandra Lund, director of corporate services, to council Tuesday, April 12 during its regular meeting.

The biggest portion of additional costs related to communications and technology with $17,700 for the communications tower move and $22,362 for information technology infrastructure. Another $17,116 was needed for security purposes and $8,350 for to create a permanent secure and fire proof storage room for the town’s permanent files.

Flootman said administration needed to make up the shortfall from the town’s general benefit reserve.

Coun. Teri Underhill, who originally voted against the move, asked whether the town could have used a tender process to ensure no cost surprises.

The short answer to that is “yes,” said Lund. However, as she was not corporate services director at the time and former CAO Rachel Kunz was managing the move she could not say for sure what caused the large discrepancy. She added that administration had a relatively short time to ensure the move occurred.

Coun. Loanna Gulka, who voted in favour of the move, said she was frustrated over the costs but appreciated administration’s efforts.

Lund suggested the best way to avoid this issue is to have a contingency plan in place. The request was approved by council.

Asset management plan update

Town planners had to reallocate money for the town’s Asset Management and Lifecycle Plan study after finding out the project did not meet the Municipal Sustainable Initiative (MSI) allocation criteria.

The project came in under budget at $43,225 as compared to $50,000 slated, but the funds had to be taken from the general benefit reserve, rather than MSI as budgeted, explained Dave McPhee, director of operations and property services. Council approved the request and McPhee said he expects a draft coming to council in May.