Dunwoody City Manager Warren
Hutmacher told Mayor Mike Davis and City Council members that construction
costs of the Georgetown Park project haven’t really gone up, rather “We’re just
finding out about the costs later in the process than we should have,” he said.
During last week’s City Council meeting, Hutmacher offered Council members an apology before they approved an additional $65,000 for cost overruns.
“It became clearly evident that we did a poor job of setting expectations for this project,” the city manager said. “A part of my job is to make sure Council is aware of and prepared for projects that move forward.”
Below: 'It needs to be investigated'
Originally budgeted at $1,665,559 with a $50,000 contingency fee. Hutmacher and parks director Brent Walker say costs now add up to at least $1,835,599. The 16-acre park will include a central park square -- an expansive lawn featuring an event pavilion and a passive play area perfect for family picnics and casual outdoor activities. The square will also house a pair of bocce courts as well as a custom art installation.
Hutmacher described the misjudgment in planning costs as part of the perils of construction and Public Works. Some of the additional costs include relocating fire hydrants and addressing bad soil at $10,000 and $35,000, respectively.
Councilwoman Lynn Deutsch told Hutmacher, “If all of this had been discovered earlier, we might not have spent so much on everything else. We might have chosen not to do the bocce court or the pavilion...or at least delayed it to a different budget cycle.”
Councilwoman Adrian Bosner suggested Hutmacher was inexperienced. “So this is the first time you’ve done a project like this, so you can’t tell us, ‘Oh this is how these projects are done. This happens all the time.' ”
Bosner called for legal action. “I’m extremely concerned and I wonder about the legality of this entire process. It needs to be investigated. You have not been forthcoming with information and I am seriously concerned.”
In explaining, Hutmacher said, “I think what you will find in here is not poor decisions but a matter of the timing of when those decisions were brought forward. Some of which I wish we had caught, like the sidewalk issue [on Dunwoody Park Drive] and the fire hydrants, but there’s 999 other ones we did catch.”