City building improvements balloon
by Nick Rappley | Patterson Irrigator
Sep 20, 2012 | 1101 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A building project originally thought to cost just more than $700,000 will now cost nearly $1.1 million, city staff told the Patterson City Council during a meeting Tuesday, Sept. 18.

The city of Patterson, which now owns 21 and 25 Del Puerto Ave. just around the corner from City Hall, closed escrow on the buildings in August.

The city originally thought John Ramos, the previous owner of the building, would be able to perform the repairs for $110,000 as part of the deal to purchase the buildings. But city attorneys have advised the council now that the buildings are owned by the city, that they and not Ramos will have to do the improvements.

The cost of the two buildings was $600,000.

City Manager Rod Butler said Wednesday, Sept. 19, that the more the city and Ramos delved into what needed to be done to the buildings, the more they realized Ramos wouldn’t be able to make the improvements needed before escrow closed and the city owned the building.

“When we got into the concept of a community conference room and walking plaza, we realized we weren’t going to have enough time,” Butler said.

Deputy City Attorney Doug White advised once the city owned the building that a public bidding process should be conducted to determine who would make the improvements, and the city should pay prevailing or union-scale wages.

He said the city decided to go in the direction of a nicer concept rather than just “bare-bones” repairs, as originally thought.

The council gave direction to staff to pursue a self-financing plan using money from a Capital Reserve Account.

The account held $3.2 million for future capitol projects last year with no major expenditures since the most recent report, Butler said.

Rental income from the building’s current tenants, including the Patterson Apricot Fiesta, a bakery, a beauty shop, and a skateboard shop, will help offset some of the costs, bringing in more than $3,000 a month.

At the current rental rate, the $1.1 million cost of the building is expected to be erased in 30.7 years, Sword told the council.

During council discussion of the matter, Councilwoman Annette Smith said the price was worth it.

“When you talk about the cost of these improvements, you need to take into consideration the benefits to downtown,” Smith said.

No council members dissented on the price tag.

Project architect Howard Sword said there were several reasons for the price tag jump.

Because the city is using public funds for the project, prevailing wages will have to be used, adding an additional $27,000.

Sword, Chief Building Official Jim Swanson and Fire Chief Steve Hall also identified several needed to bring the building up to state and city codes and to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

More than 150 of Swanson and Hall’s improvements have been identified for a total of $158,000 with another $35,000 for furniture and equipment. Because plans call for the building to be used for assembly purposes with a meeting room, a second exit will be needed on the north end of the building due to fire code requiring two exits for areas where people publicly assemble.

The alley between the two buildings — which is slated to become a walking-only area shut off from vehicle traffic — will also need to be resurfaced, with pipes and sewer being replaced for another $120,000. The pipes and sewer will be part of future improvements in downtown planned in the next two years by the city.

A new fire sprinkler system will cost an additional $45,000, ADA-compliant bathrooms could cost $50,000 and the architectural plans and engineering will cost nearly $35,000.

The renovation project will total about $500,000 when a $58,000 contingency for cost overruns is factored in, Sword said.

“This will be the first impression for the city, and it will be a great impression,” Sword said.

Homeless shelter ordinance held

An ordinance that would lay out the ground rules for homeless shelters in town was shelved for 30 days after residents near a proposed shelter asked for more time

City Council members also wanted more time to work out security issues regarding the homeless house, which will be managed by the local advocacy group Helping Others Sleep Tonight.

The ordinance is expected establish a zone where an emergency shelter can operate within the city.

It will prohibit the city from denying a permit to establish an emergency shelter within the zone unless the city can provide an objective reason to do so, and it would include guidelines for the development and operation of shelters within that zone.

Among those requirements was one for a security officer to be present when guests check in. The provision to require a security officer for the area was taken out at the planning commission level but requested again by council members, who were concerned about public safety.

H.O.S.T. board chairman Rich Kelly said a security guard would inhibit some guests from coming to the shelter and hurt more than help.

However, Mayor Luis Molina stressed protecting the neighborhood.

“I see the need for prevention and safety,” Molina said. “How we approach that may vary.”

Discussion centered on whether to allow just security cameras or require a guard to be on hand.

“I’m not willing to pass this ordinance without the security element back in,” Smith said, suggesting the council and residents need more time on the ordinance. “I think that we are passing a major ordinance, and I think the city has a responsibility to take care of all of its citizens.”

News Reporter Nick Rappley can be reached at 892-6187, ext. 31 or nick@pattersonirrigator.com.

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