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City Council OKs improving 3 buildings
By Tiffeny Owens
The Decatur Daily

The Decatur City Council on Monday night approved funding building improvements at three facilities.

The council was unanimous on the three votes during a meeting that ended an hour ahead of the BCS National Championship Game featuring the University of Alabama versus Notre Dame University.

Council members agreed to pay Decatur’s Cornerstone Engineering Group $46,979 for services related to evaluating the Decatur Public Library’s building problems and devising improvements now under way.

The cost, which had not been budgeted, will be paid out of the funds generated from last year’s bond refinancing, said Linda McKinney, finance supervisor.

The library has been closed since late November while contractors install a new heating and air system, and library officials hope to reopen by the end of the month or early February. The total cost of the project, which includes tinting windows and replacing ceiling tiles, is now $470,000.

The council also increased the room occupancy tax fund’s annual revenue projection by $50,000 to cover the costs to install 1,360 panels at Ingalls Harbor Pavilion to improve its existing sound system.

The cavernous building on Alabama 20 suffers from terrible acoustics, which make it difficult to hear speakers using the existing sound system. Jim Hall Acoustic Research in Greenbriar, Tenn., evaluated the 25,000-square-foot, multi-purpose building and recommended the panels, Parks and Recreation Director Jeff Dunlap said.

It will take four to six weeks for the materials to arrive and two weeks for city employees to install them. The labor will cost $3,500 and the annual cleaning an estimated $3,500.

“Once they’re installed, we’ll run a test to see how everything sounds, and then we plan to contact the people who said they couldn’t hold events at the pavilion until the sound system was fixed to let them know it’s done,” Dunlap said.

In a separate measure, the city awarded the contract to repair and maintain City Hall’s plumbing to Hartselle’s George Plumbing for $75 per hour plus a 10 percent materials markup. Since George Plumbing was the only responsive bidder, officials were able to negotiate with them and got the price down from $85 per hour, said Charles Booth with the purchasing department.

During the work session, the council discussed how the city can encourage more businesses to bid on jobs, proposing extending the time bids are accepted and accepting bids from out-of-state companies.

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