Building multiple police stations gets complicated. Would monitoring committee help?

The vast cost overruns on the east patrol station and crime lab prompted suggestions Thursday that an oversight committee monitor progress on massive city projects.

“I’m thinking in retrospect that might have really been helpful,’ City Councilman Ed Ford told the city council.

The east patrol project is among many funded by the quarter cent public safety sales tax renewed 2010 and lasting until 2026.

And cost overruns on one project leave budget holes in others. For instance, $14 million of the bond sales approved Thursday will go to pay for east patrol complex cost overruns, but that leaves no bond money for a police station in the northland.

Ford, the at-large council member for the northland’s second district, is concerned there will not be enough money to build a police station there.

There used to be almost $15 million in the bank for such a station, but the city already took $5.9 million from that to cover cost overruns on work at downtown police headquarters.

So there is now about $9 million left for the northland station, Ford said, leaving an expected shortfall and no bond money to fill it.

Mayor Sly James assured Ford that, “We will work just as hard and diligently to make sure the north patrol is done correctly,…”

Pat Klein, an assistant city manager, listed some of the complexities involved in monitoring such major projects – everything from acquisition and relocation to construction costs to inflation to 1 percent for art.

There have been oversight committees to monitor and report on major past projects such as Bartle Hall, officials said.

James said the council will discuss the matter after it gets a report on it from the city manager.

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