City council has doubled the budget for the historic town bell stand project, which has been delayed several times because of issues with supplies and the contractor.
During its recent regular meeting, council voted 6-1 to increase the budget for the design, fabrication and installation of the bell stand to $40,000 from the original $20,000. The shortfall will be funded through a $20,000 transfer from the PR-4 city complex upgrades account to the PR-23 general parks upgrades account.
Council also authorized city administration to award the project contract per procedures outlined in the City of Moose Jaw purchasing policy.
Coun. Dawn Luhning was opposed.
Council initially approved the project budget during 2021 budget discussions, and following that approval, the parks and rec department worked with the heritage advisory committee to finalize the design and location of the bell stand, explained director Derek Blais. Council then awarded the construction and installation contract to Steady Metalworks last July.
The company was unable to complete the project by fall 2021, so parks and rec asked council to carry forward that $20,000 budget into the new year, he continued. However, Steady Metalworks informed the department earlier this year that it would not be able to finish the project because it was dissolving.
So, parks and rec worked with the advisory committee on other options and acquired updated budget estimates for the stand. Those estimates showed that the budget should increase to $40,000, while the work should be completed by this fall.
The price increased by $20,000 for several reasons, Blais added.
Inflation hit materials and fabrication expenses, which now cost $5,500; an engineer suggested installing screw piles, anchors and concrete work, which cost $9,500; a contingency of $2,500 is required; and $2,500 is needed for engineering work.
The Town of Moose Jaw purchased the bell in 1902 and erected it behind the town hall on Main Street and River Street. Back then, the bell hung on a 30-foot-tall wooden derrick that officials rang for fires, curfews and to signal that prohibition was in effect.
Seventy years later, the bell was moved to Crescent Park and displayed near the art gallery before it was removed and stored in the city yards in 2010 because of vandalism.
Students from Saskatchewan Polytechnic refurbished the bell in 2018.
The previous plan was for the new bell stand to be composed of steel, stand 15 feet high, have a base of 10 square feet, and be installed on the northeast corner of Mosaic Place on First Avenue Northwest. A plaque was also expected to be installed near the 1,500-pound bell to highlight its history and significance.
It is not known whether city hall will continue with this plan.
The next regular council meeting is Monday, June 27.