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Bountiful delays new city hall project for further study

Published September 10, 2013 10:13 pm

Cost • Opponents claim nearly $10M price tag is too high.
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Bountiful • The City Council on Tuesday decided to delay building a new city hall until further analysis can be done on the issue.

The 3-2 decision came after protests from some residents who disputed that a new building is needed and said the nearly $10 million cost could be better used for street repairs and other needs.

Council members Richard Higginson, R. Fred Moss and Tom Tolman voted in favor of tabling the project. Council members Beth Holbrook and John Marc Knight voted against the delay.

The council decided last year to tear down the Bountiful/Davis Art Center at 745 S. Main St. and build a new, smaller city hall at the site. The plan included using $2.4 million in Redevelopment Agency funds to retrofit the 35-year-old city hall at 790 S. 100 East for the art center and the Bountiful History Center.

The art and history center has moved into Farmington's historic Memorial Courthouse until it has a new home.

An initial estimate that the city hall would cost about $4.5 million increased after more study was completed on what would be adequate for municipal operations. Council members originally were scheduled to vote on whether to put a $9,970,000 limit on the construction cost; the decision to table made a vote on that agenda item moot.

Opponents of the city hall price tag proposed an alternative this summer: Spend $2 million to upgrade City Hall, which would continue to be used for municipal operations, and $3 million to construct a new art and history center. Resident Dean Collinwood, who is chairman of the Bountiful Historical Committee, said this more fiscally conservative plan should be adopted.

"We do not need a new city hall," he said. "This proposed cost is too high."

Mayor Joe Johnson said before the meeting that the opponents were "just throwing out numbers" and that the new city hall cost is not excessive.

"It's not going to be a Taj Mahal," he said.

pmanson@sltrib.com

Twitter: @PamelaMansonSLC