- Associated Press - Sunday, May 18, 2014

WESTWEGO, La. (AP) - Westwego officials have hit another snag in plans to build a new city hall.

Mayor Johnny Shaddinger told the City Council this past week that five contractors bid on the project, but the lowest estimate was $3.7 million, about $500,000 more than the city has to spend.

“We’ve reached out to other people to see if there are any additional funds,” Shaddinger said. “Right now it doesn’t look like there are any.”

Nola.comThe Times-Picayune reported (http://bit.ly/1mVNL1d) the city for two decades has wanted to build a new city hall to replace the aging, flood-prone building at 419 Avenue A.


The city plans to build the replacement at Fourth Street and Central Avenue, and officials wrangled with the Federal Emergency Management Agency four years ago to obtain federal money to build the replacement.

The city has $3.2 million available, Shaddinger said. He asked councilmen to consider revising the design, possibly to bring down the price.

Councilman Larry Warino questioned why the city’s consultants on the project, Meyers Engineers, did not foresee the design exceeding the available money.

“They’re professionals,” Warino said. “They should have known this was more than a half-a-million off.”

Councilman Johnny Nobles said the engineers have previously said demands in the market determine the costs. Shaddinger agreed. “The City does not control the market,” the mayor said.

“I wish we had 50 bidders instead of five,” Shaddinger said. “I thought we would have more than that.”

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Information from: The Times-Picayune, http://www.nola.com