About the Author
Mark Richardson is a multimedia journalist, editor and writer who has worked in digital, print and broadcast media for three decades. He is a nationally recognized editor and reporter who has covered government, politics and the environment. A journalism graduate from the University of Texas at Austin, he was recently awarded a Foundation for Investigative Journalism grant and has three Associated Press Managing Editors awards for excellence in reporting.
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City says its keeping pace with increased building costs
As double-digit inflation drives the cost of construction upward, city, county and school district officials around
With discussions on next year’s city budget beginning, city officials will be keeping a sharp eye on the upward spiral of gasoline, diesel, concrete, steel and other commodities necessary to keep its infrastructure projects on track. According to the Associated General Contractors of
Keri Juarez with the Austin Public Works Department says they are working to keep pace with rising costs.
“We try to stay very current on our pricing,” she said. “We make it a priority for our consultants to have current information on what these projects are going to cost so we can adjust, if need be. Obviously we can’t control the market, but what we can do is adjust to it as quickly as possible.”
She said inflation in construction costs has not caused the city to cancel any major projects at this point, but that each one is getting close scrutiny.
“With our 2006 bond projects, we make an effort to understand just how the costs are fluctuating, and just what we can actually get for our money,”
Michael Chatron, executive director of the Associated General Contractors of
“In today’s global economy, the higher price of a barrel of oil and the emerging markets such as
An example is the
Officials with the City of
And closer to home, the cost for a new dormitory on the University of Texas campus jumped some 40 percent between the time it was proposed and approved. The six-story Almetris Duren Residence Hall will hold approximately 402 beds for freshmen and 172 for upperclassmen. The UT Board of Regents approved the construction last week at a cost of $50 million, up from the projected cost of $30 million.
“We do account for that as the project progresses, and if we need to allocate extra funding to a project in order to build it, then we do that,” she said. “And if we decide that a project wasn’t quite as important as we first thought, then we can allocate those funds elsewhere.”
“We are in the midst of making some of those decisions right now on some of our road projects, some of what we call our Great Streets projects,” she said. “Some of those projects are projected to cost more than we were planning a couple of years ago. We’re looking at the money we have and the projects we have planned and trying to decide what’s going to get built when and what’s the best way to use our money.”
Council Members will meet at 9am today to begin a series of work sessions on the 2009 City Budget. Economist Jon Hockenyos is scheduled to kick off the series with a forecast for the
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