With just $25,000 left in the $24.3 million GulfQuest budget, Mobile City Councilors were not happy to see the boat-shaped museum on the Oct. 22 agenda again, even though more money was not being requested.
Although the councilors had reservation, four requests to reallocate money to different contractors were approved. Councilwoman Bess Rich abstained from the vote.
City Attorney Larry Wettermark said the money has already been allocated, but the work needed to be moved to another contractor.
“The requests are for shifting work from one contractor to another,” he said. “The money was already dedicated, so in essence it’s just reallocating the money.”
Wettermark said there should be about $25,000 left in the contingency fund.
Councilman John Williams didn’t’ hold any punches in his disapproval of the museum’s construction.
“All the criticism the project has been receiving is warranted,” he said. “I’m not surprised if there will be another request for money, but what can we do … stop the project?
“This is not one I’m proud of. I think the finished project will be beautiful, but it’s been a journey getting there.”
Rich considered tabling the requests, but decided against it when Wettermark said the “city needs to pay its bills.”
He also said delaying the vote could mean more expenses for the city.
Rich begrudgingly let the issue come up on Oct. 22, but abstained from casting a vote.
“I wanted to hold this over in order to find out more about the issue, but I was advised there could be more expenses to the city if done so. I will let this be voted on, but I’m not going to vote on it,” she said.
The first change order would give the Site Utility Package work to Ben M. Radcliff Contractor Inc. The contract is for $153,667.
Radcliff will receive another large new contract from another contractor. The $527,149 contract for the General Trades/Interior Finishes/Elevator Package will also go to the company if the council approves.
Batchelor’s Mechanical Contractors, Inc., is set to receive the plumbing and HVAC Package, which is a $35,510 contract.
Lastly, Wayne J. Griffin Electric, Inc., will take over the General Building and Site Electrical Package, which totals $47,631. The name of the company losing the contracts was not immediately available.
A variety of reasons were responsible for the changes, Wettermark said.
He said exhibits are already being brought into the museum and the estimated opening is “two or three months” away.
One project everyone on the council and in the administration was glad to see on the agenda was repairs to Ann Street.
By moving money from two completed projects — a bridge project on Halls Mill and Moore’s Creek and Culvert Repairs on Airport Boulevard near Eslava Creek — more than $337,200 was put toward repairing the street.
City Engineer Nick Amberger said the funds would repair a hole in Ann Street as well as fixing the drainage from Tennessee to McDonald.
“What makes this piece of road so complicated is it is a major drainage corridor,” Amberger said. “This is long over due work and it’s the worst piece of Ann Street.”
The reason the repairs took so long is the city had to work with a railroad company to ensure repairs under a nearby railroad track would not affect the train traffic.
“We were able to work out everything with the railroad and work should begin soon,” he said. “It’s been a process, but everything is moving now.”