Eager to move forward with plans to build a new $8 million public works complex, the Papillion City Council last week selected the type of design and construction contract that will guide the building process.
But one wild card remains: Will La Vista share the new complex, too?
In March, officials from both cities announced that they were studying whether a joint complex serving both Papillion and La Vista would increase efficiencies and save money, considering that the new complex would sit directly across from La Vista's current public works facility.
Both cities hired a consultant to examine the feasibility of merging into one complex and whether any cost-savings would result. That report, which cost a total of $18,000, should be presented at council meetings in September.
Papillion chose an 11-acre site at Portal Road and Hupp Drive to house its public works offices and equipment. The city bought the property for $1 million last year, after raising its property tax rate by 5 cents in 2011 partly to fund a 25,000 to 30,000-square-foot replacement for its 90-year-old public works building at West Second Street.
The city also wants to demolish and replace two older garages at Halleck Park.
Papillion and La Vista are in the midst of a shared-services push, having voted last week to allow Papillion to replace La Vista's volunteer fire department with its paid staff.
La Vista spokesman Mitch Beaumont said a decision has not been made about partnering with Papillion again and likely won't be until the council reviews the report at its first meeting in September.
La Vista's budget was dealt an unexpected blow earlier this summer when city officials learned La Vista owed $2.4 million in sales tax refunds to several local businesses who qualified for state incentive programs.
At Papillion's Aug. 6 council meeting, council members chose to move forward with a type of contract called construction management at risk that will require the future contractor of the complex to build it at a fixed cost and deliver it on time and on budget.
Papillion spokesman Darren Carlson said it was appropriate to review potential cost-savings with La Vista, but “we still have a screaming need.”
“We're working in an inadequate facility,” Carlson said, “and the time has come when we're going to pursue this aggressively to get it done.”
Construction management at risk contracts also require contractors to work and consult with architects during the design phase of a construction project. Typical contracts include separate deals for the design and build phases of a project, with a construction contract awarded after blueprints have already been drawn up.
The city began soliciting letters of interest for construction managers this week. The advertisement notes prospective contractors “must be able to meet an aggressive timeline and schedule” and complete the project by November 2014.
Two different committees will review all submissions and a mayoral-appointed committee will recommend the most qualified contractor to the council in October.
“Our goal is to have dirt turning before the end of the calendar year,” Carlson said.