The renovation of the former City-County Building – now the Rousseau Centre – came in over budget, but was not as high as county officials had feared.
Early architectural estimates for the joint project between Allen County and Fort Wayne were about $3.2 million, but when studies showed numerous building concerns, that number quickly changed, Allen County Commissioner Nelson Peters said Friday.
The final cost came in at $4.8 million, slightly more than the $4.5 million the county had set aside for the project last year after engineering studies had bumped up project estimates.
After approving payment for $286,517 in final change orders, Peters and fellow commissioners Linda Bloom and Therese Brown expressed relief that the final cost was not as high as they had thought it would be.
Construction and architectural officials said a number of factors were to blame for the increased costs, including the age of the 50-year-old building, the need for asbestos removal and fireproofing, and extra security measures and mechanisms requested by the tenants.
The asbestos removal alone was over $1 million, Peters said.
The city and county have butted heads more than once over shared costs associated with the building. In March 2011, the county agreed to scrap a less costly floor plan and approve an additional $338,584 for the new city-county police headquarters after the city police chief and sheriff said the less costly plan would compromise public safety.
In November, Peters warned the city that building construction would stop if city officials failed to make good on a $1 million pledge made earlier toward the renovation project. Within the next few weeks, the city made two payments of $500,000.
The county must still sift through the final invoices to decide what portion is the countys responsibility and what the city owes, said Chris Cloud, executive assistant for the commissioners.
The building now houses city and county police, as well as several other county offices and Fort Waynes Metropolitan Human Relations Commission.
The bulk of the project was done in March, and as of two weeks ago all tenants have moved into the building.
The commissioners unanimously denied an amendment to a zoning ordinance – for the time being – that would require pre-purchase home inspections to include checks for flaws in the septic systems.
Peters said he had concerns with the proposed ruling in its current form.
There is a group, including the county surveyor and the Home Builders Association, who are in the midst of discussions on this issue, Peters said.
The three commissioners agreed they would like to wait until those officials have had a chance to offer input.
Also approved Friday was the transfer of $1.7 million from the countys 911 fee fund to the Consolidated Communications Partnership, a city-county board that oversees the 911 call center.
The funds will be available for the boards 2012 operating budget. No claims will be paid out of the allocation until revisions to the original contract between the city and county are complete, Peters said, adding that officials are currently in the midst of making those revisions.