Buda City Hall budget gets mixed reviews

A $922,943.78 bid for furnishings at Buda’s new city hall and library was approved March 20, but not without some reluctance from city leaders.

Originally, the Buda City Council March 7 approved a contract with Workplace Solutions, Inc. for roughly $1.036 million, with the stipulation city staff cut the bid by 10 to 20 percent. 

Revisions were approved 5-1 with an amendment to add previously eliminated items, resulting in a final amount that marked roughly 10.8 percent in cuts. Council member Lee Urbanovsky cast the dissenting vote, while Mayor George Haehn was absent.

During the meeting, staff presented revisions to the original bid, which came in at $921,273.38.

Mayor Pro Tem Wiley Hopkins motioned to approve that amount, but it died on the dais because council members were unhappy with those cuts.

After the motion died, council members were notified that if no action was made, the contract would be considered breached and would go to the full price of $1,036,278.34.

In a turn of events, council member Evan Ture had unintentionally exited the chamber before the vote to use the restroom and had not voted in the first motion.

When Ture returned, he motioned to approve the $921,000-plus figure, while also adding in two items.   

Although funding was eventually approved, several city council members voiced frustration over the cuts and the timeline to approve the furnishings.

Council member David Nuckels said during the meeting while he approved of the second bid, he was upset with the short amount of time they had to do so.

“(City staff) have done what we asked, y’all reduced the budget. I hated seeing a lot of those things go, but you did what we asked. But this has got to stop, this waiting until the last second,” Nuckels said. “This just doesn’t feel like it got scrutinized that well, but maybe it did.”

The previously scheduled move into the new municipal complex has already been delayed from May 24 to June 1. The reason for the delaywas extended furniture budget discussions, so council members felt pressured not to further increase the timeline.

Additionally, many of the cuts to the initial budget required city staff to take furniture out of the bid, rather than opting for cheaper furnishings.

“I wanted less eliminations and more discounts on items – I wanted more in reducing the cost of some items,” Urbanovksky said. “Eleven percent would have been okay provided it was not eliminating items because we’re taking stuff out of rotation of the library that I kind of wanted.”

In response, City Project Manager Ray Creswell said even the first bid was under the budget provided in the request for proposal (RFP). Creswell said lowering the price might lower the quality of some furnishings, especially since they will be used extensively in a commercial environment. City staff also explained that there is a health benefit to using more expensive commercial furnishings that have anti-microbial fabric.

A request for proposal (RFP) was issued on Feb. 7 for this project and Workspace Solutions Inc. submitted the only bid. The budget for the project, as established by the 2014 Bond Proposition 1 which allocated funds for Furniture, Fixtures and Equipment (FF&E) for the new City Hall and Library building set a budget of $1,125,954. The final approved bid results in $203,010.22 in savings.

According to the city’s presentation, the largest amount of reduced cost is “due to change of finishes and substitution for another type chair or case good item.”

“I’m happy with Mr. Creswell’s work with the city staff to cut it to where we’re at, I appreciate and agree with Lee’s (Urbanovsky) concerns. It sounds like he weights a little bit more some of the issues he brought up.” Ture said. “I think Mr. Creswell responded well to what we asked him and worked with staff to get it to where we’re at.”

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