Even after the new transit center resolution was due to Councilman Wade Fleming's absence Monday evening, the for the multi-modal transit center still dominated .
A majority of the 20-some public comments lasting for more than two hours Monday evening supported the council's not to award a design subcontract in the amount of $8.4 million for the federally funded transit center, which effectively put the time-sensitive project on hold again last month.
In the revised proposal submitted by Councilman Dane Slater, the cost of the transit center is lowered from $8.4 million to $6.27 million in a final attempt to entice a majority vote.
“That’s the most it’s gonna cost," Slater said. "Everything’s included in that. In essence, that’s what Councilman Fleming brought to this meeting on Dec. 19.”
Slater said he and Fleming approached city management in order to reach a compromise after Fleming voted against the project last month, saying "I’m willing to go now to $6 million, and that’s it."
Councilman Doug Tietz, who has consistently voted against the project, expressed concern over the project's budget during Monday's meeting.
"Is there a plan if it comes in over budget at this point?" Tietz asked.
"I think we did our due diligence to find out if it could be done at $6 million ... and still keep the project integrity intact," Slater said. "There will be a contingency built into that figure. It’s gonna drop down below that, so there’s protection for us.”
Slater said reducing the building size by 400 square feet and changing the heating and cooling from "green" to standard, among other things, helped save money.
The next step, if the resolution is approved, is to hire the construction manager, said Troy City Manager John Szerlag. "And when that happens, that individual gets a hard cap number, which includes the contingency,” Szerlag said.
The mayor states her position
Though council did not vote on the resolution, Troy Mayor Janice Daniels took 20 minutes to read a five-page position paper she had written detailing her thoughts on the transit center (please see attached pdf file).
"It is my expressed opinion that the entire project business model is fundamentally flawed," Daniels began. "The information that has been disseminated by Troy City Management is politically one-sided in support of this project."
Daniels also cited the federal deficit among other reasons for not supporting the transit center.
"Our tax dollars are not even keeping pace on the interest that is accruing on the federal debt," she added.
After her speech, other council members reprimanded Daniels both for the duration of her speech and for the personal attacks on several city employees, including council members Slater and Fleming as well as city administrators.
"I own a company, and never in my wildest dreams would I call my employees to a meeting and ridicule them in front of everybody else," Councilman Jim Campbell said. "You accused people of opening mail, you accused them of stealing, you accused people of having secret meetings – you accused people of a lot of things."
Mayor Pro Tem Maureen McGinnis also took issue with Daniels' speech.
"You can't take it upon yourself to address everyone in excess of maybe 15 minutes when the rules most clearly state you're limited to five minutes," McGinnis said.
"I think we all passed that limit at some point," Daniels replied.
Troy City Council is expected to vote on the new transit center resolution at a special meeting in the near future.
Other meeting items
Troy City Council also discussed:
- A suicide prevention program led by Daniels. "I believe it’s really important that we make sure all the resources available to our community are readily known," Daniels said.
- A resolution to change its wireless devices and service plans. The resolution, which was approved, will save the city roughly $19,000 a year, Councilman Doug Tietz said.
- The postponement of the hearing for the , whose owner is facing charges for supplying a location for illegal purposes. The resolution was approved and the hearing postponed.