The first phase of improvements at Waupaca’s South Park cost $21,000 less than projected.
The $21,229.01 in savings will now be put into a non-lapsing account for future projects at the park.
The Common Council voted 8-1 to do so during its Nov. 5 meeting.
Ald. Steve Hackett voted against the motion, and Ald. John Lockwood was absent.
Hackett agreed with the recommendation of city staff, which was to put that savings into the city’s General Fund to offset overages in city labor allocated toward the project.
“The city put in more than it was going to,” he said.
The Common Council approved a budget of $732,650 for the first of an overall four-phase improvement project at South Park.
Phase I included a new pavilion that has a kitchen area and restrooms, a patio by the pavilion, a new playground and irrigation on the hillside overlooking Shadow Lake.
The budget included state grants, private donor money, in-kind labor supplied by city staff and also 2013 and 2014 unused department budget savings.
In an Oct. 30 memo to Mayor Brian Smith and the Common Council, Development Director Brennan Kane said that to date, the city spent a total of $699,455.71 toward the construction, resulting in a savings of $33,194.29.
However, a portion of the funds for the project were allocated from the city’s Storm Sewer and Water Utility accounts, he said in the memo.
The Storm Sewer account had a savings of $7,815.05, and the Water Utility account had a savings of $4,150.23, meaning the acutal project construction savings was $21,229.01, Kane wrote.
The approved grant budget designated about $38,300 for city in-kind labor by city staff, and Kane said the city expended about $51,000 in public works labor.
There were minimal capital projects in the city in both 2013 and 2014, which allowed for city labor to be used to construct several parts of the project, reducing the overall budget.
That $51,000 did not include labor and oversight from City Hall employees.
That is why city staff recommended putting the $21,229.01 in the city’s General Fund.
During last week’s council meeting, Kane said the discussion to reimburse some accounts was an internal one and that because of the additional time staff put toward the project, staff thought it was best to reimburse the General Fund.
It was Ald. Deb Fenske who asked if the savings could be put into a non-lapsing account for the park.
When Library Director Peg Burington asked if the labor expended was budgeted, City Administrator Henry Veleker said it was.
City labor was able to focus on the project at South Park, because there were no other capital projects, he said.
Referring to the private donations the city received for the South Park project, Ald. Scott Purchatzke said those funds were donated specifically for the park.
If there was a savings, the private donations should go toward the next phase, he said.
Ald. Paul Hagen agreed, saying it is best to keep those funds in the city’s Parks and Recreation Department.
“They didn’t donate it to the city’s General Fund. They donated it to the park,” Purchatzke said.