No change in Mission Viejo as fiscal irresponsibility rolls on…

Several years ago I filed a law suit against the City of Mission Viejo for altering an Advisory Ballot measure on a future city hall. While the judge agreed with my argument he told us that the pending vote was only “advisory” which enabled the council to change from “size, location and cost” of the future building to “continue leasing space in the building we occupied, purchase that building, or build a 47,750 square foot city hall on land that we owned.” The criteria of “size, location and cost” was established based on a prior city election vote. As you can see this is not exactly the same options but that story is old. Why do I bring it up now? After losing the case the powers to be had us vote on a 47,000 square foot building that was estimated to cost around $10 million. After voters approved the choice to build a new city hall, (on land that we owned), they increased the building size to 52,000 square feet and established a budget of $14,406,681 for design and construction. Source. City document.

Let’s shift gears to the expansion of the Norman P. Murray Senior and Community Center that is scheduled to open next month. When the city selected Design Task Force first presented a very detailed report of the expansion the expansion was to be around 12,000 to 13,000 square feet. On Oct 29, 2004 the city issued a Press Release that stated a $5.5 million estimated cost including the relocation of two soccer fields. I blogged about that report in my September 14,2007 post which read “how to boil a live frog.” At that time the city had issued 10 change orders to the CIP and listed a revised budget of $13.5 million.

Well, folks, on Monday, March 3rd there is another routine item on the Consent Calendar. In this case there is a new request requesting approval of Change Orders #15 and #16 to CIP #994 at $117,048 and $334,641 respectively for a new budget of $15,129,384. I do not know if that includes nearly one million dollars for the architect.

So we built a 52,000 square foot, two story, city hall with an elevator for around $15 million and are told that this roughly 13,000 square foot single story expansion at one forth the size and 10 percent higher cost is justified. As they made numerous improvements to the existing building, which we were never told of when the CIP was first created, it would have been cheaper to tear the building down and build a new center from scratch. And they continue to deceive the voters by denying that the original plan included TWO soccer fields. But what do I know.

About Larry Gilbert