City council funds animal shelter construction
by Glenn Moore
Apr 18, 2014 | 4116 views | 0 0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tracy will have a new animal shelter in December, based on a vote Tuesday by the Tracy City Council to appropriate an additional $672,460 for the project.

When bids to build the animal shelter were opened in March, each of the nine bids exceeded the $3.2 million budgeted for construction. The shelter project, including design, the purchase of land and other expenses, was planned to cost a total of $4.5 million.

Members of the council voted unanimously during their regular meeting Tuesday to draw the extra money from the city’s General Projects Fund 301, the only fund that can be used for any city project. Nearly $1.5 million is available in Fund 301 for the city’s 2014-15 fiscal year.

At a Capital Improvement Projects workshop Tuesday, council members and city employees discussed allocating more money to complete the project.

Mayor Pro Tem Michael Maciel asked if the bids for the shelter were a sign that the “very positive bidding environment” that had existed for several years had changed.

“With a slow economy, we enjoyed a situation where bids usually came in a little lower than expected,” Maciel said.

Kuldeep Sharma, utilities director, described the nine bids the city received as competitive and said the city would probably have to adjust its projections for future bids.

The low base bid was $3,334,000, from D.G. Grande Inc. of Shingle Springs. The contractor also provided bids for each item in a list of 11 add-ons for the first phase of the shelter construction.

At Tuesday’s council meeting, Sharma said the city had two options for the shelter. The first was to accept a resolution awarding the construction contract to D.G. Grande Inc. using the additional $672,460 from Fund 301. The second was to reject all the bids and redesign the scope of the project for the council’s approval at a later date.

“If council approves as recommended for awarding the construction contract, staff believes the facility will be a functional facility and will provide much better services than the existing facility,” Sharma said.

He warned that rejecting the bids and reducing the scope of the project would mean spending more on designs and that a smaller shelter might not be able to provide the level of service the community wanted.

Zena Robbins spoke during public comment time in favor of the new shelter project, calling the existing shelter “uninviting, like a prison with a very quick death row.” Robbins called on the council to provide the additional funding.

“I’m very passionate about this cause — I just truly hope this can come to fruition,” Robbins said. “The longer we wait, sounds like it will be an even more expensive project in the future. Realistically, strike while the iron is hot. It just makes common economic sense.”

Maciel said he did not believe the council had any other option but to approve the additional money from Fund 301.

“Realistically, we don’t have options. We’re committed to this. We have made it a priority,” Maciel said. “The realities of a tougher bidding environment notwithstanding, we need to move forward. We have the money in 301. Spending this amount of money might create some challenges down the road, but we will deal with those down the road.”

Councilman Charles Manne agreed that the city could not wait any longer to build the animal shelter.

“This council supports a new shelter. We’re upgrading from a completely inadequate facility that doesn’t represent a town of 83,000-plus people,” Manne said. “I want to see everyone at a ribbon cutting in December. The longer we wait, the more the construction costs will go up.”

The shelter will be built on the southwest corner of Grant Line and Paradise roads. Barring complications at the site, it is expected to be completed by December.

The additional funding requested on Tuesday will pay for the base construction and two of the add-on items: sinks and cabinets and cat holding cages.

Sharma said the goal would be to use the most cost-effective construction methods and use any savings to add more items from the list of remaining additional features. In order of priority, those items are: eight parking spaces, tubular skylights, concrete wraps at column bases, grooming equipment, a landscaped area, dog exercise yards, irrigated trees at the perimeter and entry trellis sections.

• Contact Glenn Moore at gmoore@tracypress.com or 830-4252.

 
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