Mission Viejo Councilman Questions City Spending

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Hundreds of hours in consultant billing spent on a change order for the renovation of Mission Viejo’s tennis center and the cost of remodeling the Mission Viejo Library’s Friends Community Room caught the eye of Councilman Dave Leckness last night.

Renovation plans for the tennis center, which Leckness once called the “crown jewel” of the city, include additional tennis courts with new lighting and additional parking, according to a city staff report.

The renovation has hit a few snags along the way. The latest hurdle was revealed last night, when the council rejected all bidders for the project because of a “mathematical error” in the lowest bidder’s cost estimate of the project and irregularities in the second lowest bid, according to a city staff report.

Leckness’ main concern was a $29,875 change order that includes, among other things, new basketball courts and the preparation of construction documents for multiple phases of work. A representative for the design consultant, RJM Design Group, said the hourly rates to do the work average between $120 and $140.

The math caught Leckness’ attention.

“If you divide $30,000 into $120 or $140 an hour, that comes to hundreds of hours, right?” Leckness asked. “I want to know how you come up with X amount of hours.” He added: “The bottom line is it seems like hundreds of hours for changes. Where does it end? Where does this thing end?”

Larry Ryan, an architect with the consultant, responded that his firm is cautious about submitting invoices, but that the project has been “drug a long time.”

“The course of this project has been anything but what we anticipated,” Ryan said.

Councilman Frank Ury said that any additional costs incurred for change orders were all authorized by the City Council, and it showed “part of the problem” with the way sitting and past councils operate.

“We come in and we do the head fake,” Ury said. “We can’t be talking to them and saying hey, ‘Why does this cost all this extra money?’ When we told them to do this work.”



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