York City officials are crossing their fingers that a second round of bid openings Tuesday will allow them to stay within a $5 million budget to transform the former City Hall into a modern police station.
Since bids were first opened Sept. 5, city officials have been working with prospective contractors to slash more than $400,000 from projected costs.
Jim Gross, the city's public works director, told the York City Council at a meeting Monday that the bids for electrical and HVAC work came in "well over engineers' estimates."
Gross said his department has tweaked the plans to cut costs and discussed the issue with project bidders.
But, he said, the ultimate goal is to achieve accreditation for the York City Police Department, which will have full use of the building at 50 W. King St.
"We're making sure we're not compromising that," Gross said.
When construction is finished, city police will have access to new prisoner cells, an updated evidence storage system and flood-proof locker rooms. They'll have more space to interview witnesses and suspects. Plans call for transforming the upstairs attic into a gym and training room.
The city is paying for the project with a $5 million state grant. Officials have repeatedly vowed not to spend local taxpayer dollars, a point that several council members reiterated Monday.
If the bids fail to come in under budget, "then we're going to have to go back and do some more discussion," Gross said.
But, Gross said, there's reason to believe the issue will be resolved with a second bid opening. One company made several errors on its bid sheet, for example.
And, he said, there's some wiggle room in whether to hire an outside contractor to move furniture throughout the process. As of right now, the low bid for that work stands at more than $43,000.
It's possible - but not ideal - for city employees to do it instead, Gross said.
The goal is to get construction started before November. It's an 18-month project, Gross said.
The York City Council agreed to consider accepting bids at its Oct. 2 meeting - on the condition that the bids opened Tuesday allow the city to stay within its $5 million budget.
Bids will be opened publicly at 3:30 p.m. at City Hall, 101 S. George St.- Erin James may also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.