Costs… Going Down?

The cost to replace the elevators at Citizens Square will likely be less than expected.

The Fort Wayne Board of Public Works on Wednesday opened bids to modernize the building’s six elevators. Of the five companies to submit a price, four were below the city’s cost estimate of $902,000. American Elevator submitted the lowest price – $811,000 – but city officials must examine the submission before awarding a contract.

The need to replace the elevators drew criticism from members of the City Council and others. Critics said the expense should have been known before the city borrowed $17.2 million to purchase and renovate the new home for city and county governments.

The Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission in January voted 3-2 to spend up to $950,000 from one of its tax-increment financing districts to upgrade the elevators.

The mayor’s three appointees supported the expense, and the council’s two appointees opposed it.

If the project costs less than $950,000 the special taxing district would simply keep the excess money for other projects.

While the commission approved money for the project, City Controller Pat Roller previously confirmed she will bring the repair contract to the City Council for approval. That contract will be based upon the firm selected by the city to do the work.

City officials previously said the elevators passed their safety inspections and were only getting limited use during the renovations of the building.

It wasn’t until city and county offices began moving in last spring that the elevators began showing their age.

Since that time, the city has been spending about $10,000 a month maintaining the elevators – about 10 times the appropriate level.

There have been instances of people getting stuck in the elevators.

The elevators even caused a scare for a fire crew and medic when they took abnormally long to transport a patient in January.

If approved, the elevator work will begin this spring and last through early 2013.

-Journal Gazette

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Categories: Goverment

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