WATERVILLE — The proposed cost to build and equip a new police station at Colby Circle is $3.4 million, a price at least one city councilor said is too high.

“I wouldn’t support $3.4 million,” Councilor John O’Donnell, D-Ward 5, said.

O’Donnell asked for an explanation of how the project to build a police station went from an initial $2.5 million a year or two ago to $3.4 million.

But Council Chairman Fred Stubbert, D-Ward 1, said that contingencies are built into the $3.4 million that may never be spent.

“It’s $2.6 million to build the building and that’s what we talked about initially,” Stubbert said, adding that the city added soft costs such as new equipment, new fixtures and furniture, and $100,000 to buy the land.

Councilors are expected to vote on a budget for the station later this month.

City Manager Michael Roy handed out lists of costs for the station that include $2.4 million for all trades managed by the construction manager, Wright-Ryan Construction. Wright-Ryan would get a 5 percent construction manager fee, or $125,243, as part of the proposal. The total construction cost of $2.6 million would include not only that fee and the trade costs but also a two percent contingency of $48,783, as well as a payment and performance bond of $16,943.

The architect for the project, Port City Architecture, would get $254,357.

Roy said the figures were compiled by the city, Wright-Ryan and Port City, that they are still working on some of the numbers. He said he hopes that in two weeks there will be firmer figures on items such as furniture and fixtures.

Ground is expected to be broken on the project early next week. A $140,000 contingency is built into the budget to cover unforeseen circumstances such as ground problems.

Roy noted that the initial project called for an 11,000-square-foot building and that size was increased to 12,133, which also increased the proposed cost.

Councilor Eliza Mathias, D-Ward 6, asked if there are possible ways to look at cost savings. Roy said he and others would look at two possible reductions — in furniture and other items such as dispatch equipment, for instance, and in Central Maine Power Co., Fairpoint Communications and fiber optic connections.

He noted that the council approved $500,000 for site preparation, foundation and structural steel at its last meeting.

“I didn’t approve that either,” O’Donnell said.

At that meeting, O’Donnell objected to spending the $500,000 without knowing the full cost of the project.

Councilor Erik Thomas, D-Ward 4, said Tuesday that the initial plans called for larger offices and a training room. A training room is not included in the latest plans.

“A lot was cut from what was sort of the ideal of what police wanted when we started this,” he said.

No one at Tuesday’s public hearing on the project asked questions.

The paperwork Roy handed out stated that the city’s borrowing $3.4 million for a police station would increase the property tax on an average Waterville home by $30.05 over the 25-year term of the loan.

In other business, councilors interviewed four candidates for the Ward 2 council seat vacated recently by George Myers Jr., who resigned. Councilors said they were not prepared Tuesday to appoint someone.

The candidates are Edward Lachowicz, a student studying social work who was elected Tuesday to the Charter Commission; Michael Owens, a teacher’s aide at Waterville Junior High School who also is a member of the Planning Board; Nathaniel White, director of the American Heritage Tour at Alfond Youth Center; and Patrick Roy, a night auditor for Comfort Inn who is retired from Scott Paper Co.

After Myers was appointed to the council in 2010 to fill the unexpired term of Mary-Anne Beal, he served a year and then ran for re-election last year. Roy ran against Myers and lost.

Amy Calder — 861-9247
acalder@centralmaine.com