Delaware Public Media

New Rehoboth Beach city hall more than $2 million over budget

Mar 9, 2017

Officials say a off-target estimate on the cost of Rehoboth Beach’s new city hall won’t keep the project from completion.

Mayor Sam Cooper says the project was expected to cost $18 million according to a project consultant.

 

Based on that estimate, the city borrowed that amount in the form of a USDA Rural Development Grant.

 

Now, the project is more than $2.6 million over budget due to extra stormwater expenses. The city is required to have three stormwater ponds and permeable paving - requirements that changed after the city awarded a bid for construction.

 

 

But Copper says the city has a way to make up the difference. The city's proposed budget for the coming year includes about $1.3 million for project. The city will also draw on a cash reserve fund.

 

'We’re taking about $1 million from the city’s accrued surpluses to make up the difference,” Cooper said.

 

Cooper said the city knew it would be over budget ever since they opened the project up for bidding in December 2015.

 

“We knew at that point that the bids were $1.4 million more than the $18 million,” Cooper said. “And the commissioners elected to go ahead.”

 

Rehoboth Beach officials say a new city hall is necessary because they’ve outgrown the current one - built in 1964.  For example, Cooper says the part of the office where police work does not fit that department’s present needs.

 

“The area that the police were working in was sub-standard, inadequate, and a good part of the operation was in the basement. There were mold problems down there,” Cooper said. “It was just not conducive to a good work environment, nor did it meet the current requirements for detention of people that have been arrested.”

 

Copper adds the new building will be handicapped accessible and, unlike the current building, will have an elevator.

 

Cooper said he expects city employees to move into their new offices shortly after Labor Day. The building should be complete by then, with construction on a parking lot behind the firehouse.