The council took the action after Carl Blum, the project’s architect, told the council that the project was substantially over budget because at the last minute, the state Fire Marshall’s office informed the city that the structure would be classified as a motel, not a residence like the city originally anticipated.
That meant updating the structures’ plans to include a sprinkler system and a fire alarm system to each one.
La. Contracting Enterprise submitted the low bid for the project at $878,685. That total includes construction of three units and site work that will include the laying of limestone from an existing roadway to the carports underneath the cabins.
However, Blum said La. Contracting officials said they have some suggestions for reducing project costs. None of these suggestions would change the aesthetics of the structures or function of the buildings.
Blum said he will be meeting soon to compile a list of these possible cost reductions and then will present an updated cost estimate to the council.
If the city can save enough money via the cost reductions and can find some money elsewhere, they will be able to do some additional work.
Mayor Tim Matte said some of the site work could be done by city crews with some assistance.
The contract calls for the work to be complete in 170 days, so if they are able to start in March, they should be open during the summer.
Also during Tuesday’s meeting, the council:
—Learned from Matte that during the past year, the costs for utilities from the Louisiana Energy and Power Authority have stayed fairly steady with about a 61.15 mill average. Matte said in past years the city has experienced wide swings in these costs, which are passed on to citizens.
—Matte also told the council a stay has been issued on proposed emission rules for summer months, which deal with nitrous oxide. The stay means LEPA plants should be able to generate as needed during the summer.
—Adopted its 2012 amended budget. No comments were offered during a public hearing.
—Approved a change order for an additional $10,225 with Souther Constructors, which is doing work on the proposed baseball field adjacent to Complex Park as well as improvements at Cypress Park.
—Approved a contract with Charles Sheehan, doing business as Divine Snowballs of Morgan City, for rights to sell concessions at Lake End Park. He will take over for Jeannie Berry, who is retiring. Sheehan is in negotiations with Berry for the building at the park.
—Approved a resolution to continue its work with Scott Rhodes, who will serve as tennis court pro for the city. Changes will have to be made in the contract, however, to reflect compliance with Internal Revenue Service requirements. The council approved the motion on a 3-0 vote with Councilman Larry Bergeron, who is related to Rhodes’ wife, abstaining. The contract will be brought before the council at a later date for approval.
—Elected Bergeron mayor-pro tem for 2012.
—Approved a resolution supporting the St. Mary Community Action Agency’s participation in the recompetition process for its program.
—Approved a resolution authorizing the city to enter into a contract with Utility Service Co. Inc. for renovation and maintenance for the Oak Street Water Tower to provide professional services needed to maintain the tank.
—Approved a resolution in support of keeping the U.S. Postal Service’s Downtown Morgan City Branch open. A public hearing will be held on Feb. 7 at the Morgan City Municipal Auditorium to gather public input on the proposal.
—Approved its monthly financial statements for December, which included favorable variances in the General and Ancillary funds, the Utility Fund and the Sanitation and Sewer Fund.
—Approved a resolution seeking $30,000 from the Local Government Assistance Program for a police patrol unit.
—Approved Class A liquor and beer permits for Lori Michelle Properties, d/b/a The Drink House (501 First St.), and Bella Smith, d/b/a Atchafalaya Café LLC (7310 Business 90 East).
—Approved a resolution supporting the state’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority’s 2012 Coastal Master Plan idea for the utilization of the Atchafalaya River to replenish marshes in Terrebonne Parish as long as flood protection is available in Bayou Chene, instead of the proposal in the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway.
—Heard from Morgan City resident Patrick Cloture, who expressed concern that the city was not meeting deadlines it set for making information available online related to updating the city’s zoning ordinances and land use plans. He requested that the council give the public 90 days to go through the draft, so they are not overwhelmed with the zoning updates that will be proposed. The council didn’t act on his request, but Matte said he will find out why a portion of the zoning ordinance that was supposed to be up is not up yet on the city’s website (www.cityofmc.com). He also said that the information that has been presented thus far is strictly background information and that no new changes to the ordinances have been presented.