Verizon Building Renovations Up by $1,520,329.00 or 13%

The Times Herald reported on the recent public meeting regarding financing the renovations of the Verizon Building.  Keystone Property Group is now saying that the renovations of the building will cost an additional $1,520,320 or 13% more.  The original estimate was $13,145,000.

The Times Herald quotes Borough Manager Fran Marabella as stating that the new higher estimate is the result of “a requirement that workers on the public construction project must be paid prevailing wage rates” and “additional costs to get state accreditation for the police station.”

So we have a few questions regarding this:

1. During the public meetings when this project was discussed, Keystone had the support of the unions.  The unions send dozens of people to attend the meeting and there were at least two speakers from the unions.  Why is the cost of labor and prevailing wages coming up now?  The unions were involved from the start.

2. Have the requirements regarding the state accreditation changed over the past several months?  Why is this now a factor?  Shouldn’t it have been known from the beginning?

3. Does the public want to risk borrowing $10 million dollars in regards to this building?  From the Times Herald:

Council members discussed whether to borrow $10 million to finance the early renovation costs with a bank loan or a 30-year bond issue. A financial advisor, Concord Public Finance of Lancaster, Lancaster County, was hired Thursday night for a $22,500 fee to prepare financial information for the loan and negotiate with bank institutions.

Council also hired the law firm Fox Rothschild to determine whether the proposed $10 million loan will be tax exempt for IRS purposes. The Whitpain firm will charge $350 per hour.

The expenses for both advisors will be paid out of the financing package, Marabella said.

There will be another public meeting about this topic on Monday, February 17th at 7:30 p.m. at Old Borough Hall at West 8th and Fayette.  See you there.