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Williamsburg Council takes second look at library costs

By ANDREA FURLONG

The latest estimate for new Williamsburg Public Library is approximately $1,500 under budget.

OPN architect Bruce Hamous estimated the total construction and furnishing costs to be $3,545,338 – $1,473 under the original estimate. Construction costs are projected to be $9,000 higher than the original estimate of $2,707,981. Hamous said the library building committee and architects were able to come in under budget for the total project cost (excluding the land purchased) after changes in building materials and moving more items from the base bid to be bid on as alternates.

The base bid for the 12,000 square foot library will include a clock tower, coffee bar, fire place, young adult section with unique architectural features, a children’s reading section, adult reading section, asphalt shingle roof, gravel parking lot and unfinished basement. It will also includes expansion of the southeast corner of the library plaza into the intersection of State and Elm streets and the relocation of a fire hydrant.

Seven items totaling approximately $544,000 will be bid on as alternates: $250,000 for finishing of the basement and an operational elevator, $98,000 to pave the 23-car parking lot, $86,000 to install wooden ceiling to highlight interior features, $62,000 for a metal seam roof with a 50-year lifetime, $25,000 for a brick mural, $10,000 for window shades for southern windows and $12,800 to finish miscellaneous casework and add some storage shelves.

OPN will release construction documents March 8. The project will open for bidding April 1, with construction projected to start around June 1.

WATER LOSS

City public works director John Avery estimated the city is losing about 44.4 million gallons of water per year — about 31 percent of the total gallons the city produces.

Avery said it isn’t clear at this time where the points of water loss are, but that the public works department has approached the problem from several angles in the past year. Last year, the city replaced 48 water meters that were reading incorrectly and tested the accuracy of 28 more. In addition to the city’s annual leak survey, employees tested the accuracy of the meters of the city’s four well pumps and water tower, conducted pressure tests that could reveal leaks and doublechecked the accuracy of the water plant’s readings. Avery also said that an ongoing Inflow and Infiltration (INI) study of the city’s wastewater system by VJ Engineering may help identify points of water loss.

Council member Marty Bunge said the initiatives did not seem to have a significant effect in decreasing the city’s water loss.

“The meters you’ve changed have really made a negligible change in terms of water usage,” Bunge said.

Avery said the problem is complicated because the 44.4 million gallon figure may not even be accurate.

“There is the fact that we only read in hundreds of gallons. You take 1,500 meters — that’s how many services we have. Each meter can run up to 99 gallons without being read — that’s the other calculation issue we have to work out. You have a lot of water that’s not being recorded that’s actually being used,” he said.

Council members encouraged Avery to continue to investigate the loss.

HOBBY GREENHOUSES

The council set a public hearing at 7:45 p.m., March 8, to amend city code to allow for the construction of hobby greenhouses in city limits.

The amendment would allow citizens to build a greenhouse up to 150 square feet in size as an accessory to their residence, “in which no occupation or business for profit is carried on.”

The amendment defines a greenhouse as “a structure having a transparent covering, whether glass or plastic, utilized for seed germination, plant propagation, hardening off or forcing or maintenance of a controlled climate to sustain plant growth otherwise not possible in natural out-of-door surroundings.”

Residents would have to gain permission from the planning and zooming commission before building.

IN OTHER BUSINESS

• The council tabled approving a 5-year lease agreement to lease two 2010 vehicles equipped with police accessories for approximately $52,500 ($10,500 per year).

• The council held its first reading over updates to city code. The updates were largely to reflect changes in the state code and to clarify the language of existing ordinances. The second reading will be held during the council’s next meeting, Feb. 22. It will take three readings to approve the updated code.

• The council approved hiring a custodian for the recreation center for $9 per hour.

• The council approved paying Chuck Shaull $1,490 for his repairs to city water main.

The next meeting of the Williamsburg City Council is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., Monday, Feb. 22.

UPDATED February 10, 2010 1:06 PM

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