The Westwego City Council will hold a special meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday to decide which elements of a long-planned City Hall building will be jettisoned to bring the project within budget.
The city’s eight-year effort to replace its leaky, water-damaged home on Avenue A with a new 10,000-square-foot building on Fourth Street was dealt a blow last month when bids came in some $500,000 over the $3.2 million the city has to spend.
Mayor John Shaddinger called the special meeting in an effort to move the process along quickly because a protracted legal fight with FEMA over funding and other interruptions, already has dragged out the process through the terms of three mayors.
The council will look at recommendations made by the building’s designers on how to bring down the cost, but one likely target is the “widow’s walk” and dormers that added $180,000 to the budget. Shaddinger and council members will also look at simplifying the council’s voting system ($50,000), reducing the number of thermostats in the administrative offices ($40,000), eliminating a canopy over the mayor’s parking spot ($30,000) and using different materials throughout the building.
The designers’ list offers $570,000 in suggested savings, but Shaddinger urged council members earlier this month to speak with the project’s engineers and architects to come up with any additional suggestions.
The new building is expected to take 12 months to build once construction starts. After the bids came in too high last month, Shaddinger said he doesn’t want the process delayed more than a couple of months.
Follow Chad Calder on Twitter, @Chad_Calder.