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"You will not be coming back for additional funds? Everything is accounted for? You know the cameras are recording this?" Councilmember and rules committee member Todd Gloria asked mayoral staffer Amy Benjamin during Wednesday's hearing on the construction of a downtown library/charter school.

City staff and representatives from San Diego's Library Foundation were present at the meeting with new details on the project and to ask the rules committee members to move the item on to the full city council for the approval of $133.7 million to break ground on the new library with builder Turner Construction. If approved, the downtown central library, according to Benjamin, will cost no more than $184.9 million dollars, $141 million for construction, $12 million for additional expenditures such as furniture, fixtures, and equipment, and $31.9 million for design and "other costs."

Funding for the project comes from several sources: $80 million from the Centre City Development Corporation, $20 million from San Diego Unified School District, $20 million from a state grant, with the remainder from donors and city redevelopment funds.

Councilmember Donna Frye asked staff to provide more details on the $42 million tax increment funding from the city's redevelopment agency and the actual taxpayer cost for $20.9 in CCDC tax allocation bonds. She raised concerns about the actual costs of the project. She also asked about the line item identified as "city contingency," which amounts to $3.6 million.

"The city contingency is the money we will need in the event that we find something that wasn't anticipated in the construction process," said Darren Greenhalgh from the Engineering and Capital Projects department. "The biggest surprise that happens when excavating downtown is you find some kind of animal, you know, whale bones or something like that."

Frye responded: "How did you determine the $3.6 million?"

"It was dependent upon keeping the budget at $184.9 million," answered Greenhalgh.

Members of the rules committee unanimously voted to move the item on to the full city council.

If the council approves the project, construction will begin in August 2010. The projected finish date for phase II is July 2013.

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Comments

Grasca June 17, 2010 @ 11:05 a.m.

Another well written and researched story. Thank you, Dorian.

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CuddleFish June 17, 2010 @ 1:02 p.m.

Good reporting, Dorian, thank you.

If these are Prop 8 funds being used for this library, is that appropriate? My understanding was the bonds could only be used for pre-approved projects.

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Dennis June 17, 2010 @ 2:29 p.m.

Frye responded: "How did you determine the $3.6 million?"

"It was dependent upon keeping the budget at $184.9 million," answered Greenhalgh.

Ya gotta love it! It can't cost more than that, that's what the budget is! Where have I heard that before?

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