BURLINGTON — After hitting some unexpected delays and expenses, the Burlington pool project is back on track for its opening in May, according to city officials.
City Administrator Carina Walters reported to the Burlington Committee of the Whole on Tuesday that Reesman’s Excavating and Grading discovered the pool’s site was covered with 6 feet of topsoil, which had to be removed. The extra earthwork added another $150,000 to the budget.
The project has also incurred increased costs due to an additional high dive, more air-conditioning in the concession stand, fire alarms, the sound system and security.
Walters said those costs have been accounted for under the project’s contingency fund which makes up $705,025 of the overall $5.3 million budget. So far, $243,494 of the contingency fund has been spent, leaving $461,531.
The committee was asked to approve an additional $28,075 for extra chairs and $48,962 in concession stand equipment for a total of $77,037 that would be taken from the contingency fund.
Jeanne Otter from the Pool Board presented the list of equipment it plans to buy, including machines for slushies, soft-serve ice cream and popcorn for the concession stand, along with pricing from four potential sources.
The board debated spending more from the contingency fund this early in the construction process. Alderman Tom Preusker said he didn’t feel like it was the city’s obligation to furnish the pool and concession stand.
“I don’t like that we’re two months into an eight-month process and we’re two-thirds through the contingency fund,” he said.
Alderman Bob Grandi argued that since the prices for items will go up after the new year, it was best to, “give the board everything they need” to be successful.
Alderman Jon Schulz asked Pool Board representative Scott Hoffman if the Pool Board was going to be making future requests for funds. Hoffman said the Pool Board was trying to be as fiscally responsible as possible, but he couldn’t guarantee anything because the board members are still learning.
“We’re trying to look under every rock,” Hoffman said.
Walters said she’d been assured by contractors that the project was past the most difficult phase, so there’s a reduced risk of further financial surprises.
In the end the Committee of the Whole approved the purchases.
The pool was also officially named the Burlington Community Aquatic Center.
In other business:
Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave stopped by the meeting on Tuesday to give an update on the county budget, which included $100,000 for the new pool. Delagrave said there is $750,000 of financial support available for existing businesses to assist with adjustments they might have to make due to the Foxconn development.
“Which could include businesses in the city of Burlington who may be facing wage pressures or innovative pressures with the Foxconn development,” he said. “While we feel that Foxconn is mostly good news, we know that existing businesses face certain challenges with Foxconn coming in.”
The Common Council approved the proposed 2018 budget, which includes a 75-cent increase on the tax rate from 2017. For 2018, the tax rate is estimated to be $9.87 per $1,000 in value.
Finance Director Steve DeQuaker said he expects the city will close TIF district III sometime in 2018, which would bring the mill rate down for 2019.
The council also approved a storm water management analysis of the southern side of the city along McHenry Street, which serves several industries including Lavelle Industries, Ardaugh Group, KW Precasting and Cretex Materials.
Walters said the study was prompted by the flooding incidents in September 2016 and July 2017. Speaker Robin Vos of the Wisconsin Assembly met with Walters and business owners along McHenry Street and allocated $50,000 from the Department of Natural Resources for the study.