York City officials are resorting to Plan B - and maybe Plan C - to complete a police-station upgrade project that will almost surely exceed its $5 million budget.

About $190,000 remains in an account that had been designated for two completed projects - City Hall's move to 101 S. George St. and energy-efficiency upgrades. Public Works director Jim Gross said the city will have to tap into the leftover, unrestricted money to finish the police station.

And, if that's not enough, a private donor might step in to help, Gross said.

"That just hasn't been nailed down yet," he said.

York City has a state grant worth $5 million to spend on modernizing its police station at 50 W. King St. into an accredited department. Officials have repeatedly vowed not to spend local taxpayer dollars on the project.

But costs have repeatedly exceeded projections.

Earlier this year, the public works department tweaked plans and asked contractors to resubmit bids for electrical and HVAC work after the first round of bids exceeded estimates by tens of thousands of dollars.

City officials also decided in October to ditch plans to hire a contractor to move furniture throughout the 18-month construction project. Instead, city employees will do the work, which could have cost about $40,000.

Contracts approved in October were worth nearly $4.7 million and covered most of the construction work - electrical, plumbing, HVAC and general. Earlier engineering costs amounted to about $250,000.


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That left a little less than $100,000 in the budget for the installation of an information-technology system, the last contract to be bid.

On Monday, Gross presented an IT contract worth just under $200,000 to the York City Council and asked the council to approve the contract at its Dec. 4 meeting.

Gross said it took three bid openings and a round of negotiations - which knocked $30,000 off the lowest bid - to secure that price.

"We feel that's the best we're going to do," Gross said, noting that IT upgrades are an integral part of the project.

He is proposing to use the $100,000 remaining in the police-station budget and part of the $190,000 remaining in the other account to pay for the IT system. That leaves the city with a cushion of just $90,000 to cover any unexpected costs.

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.

Construction, which was scheduled to begin this month, is on hold until the IT contract is finalized, Gross said. The project is expected to take about 18 months to complete.

"They're ready to start. They're ready to go," Gross said.

- Erin James may also be reached at ejames@yorkdispatch.com.