Mayor breaks 4-4 vote to purchase new carpet, tile

Low bid comes in $500 more than amount budgeted by city.

By EVAN YOUNG

Sunset Hills aldermen recently deadlocked on a vote to spend roughly $19,000 on new carpet and tile for two city buildings.

Mayor Bill Nolan broke a 4-4 tie vote June 8 to approve spending $19,472 on new carpet and vinyl composition tile for City Hall and the public works building.

Ward 1 Alderman Dee Baebler; Ward 2 Aldermen Scott Haggerty and Thomas Hrastich; and Ward 4 Alderman Claudia Svoboda voted in favor of the purchase.

Opposed were Ward 1 Alderman Frank Hardy; Ward 3 Aldermen Jan Hoffmann and Stephen Webb; and Ward 4 Alderman Pat Fribis.

The project is included in the 2010 city budget. However, the low bid of $19,472 is roughly $500 more than the $18,965 officials budgeted for the new flooring.

The city’s 2010 budget calls for spending $14,223.75 to remove and replace the carpet and tile in City Hall, and $4,741.25 to remove and replace the tile in the public works building.

“This is potentially one area where we could say: You know what? It’s not ideal,” Webb said, noting other facilities issues could come up during the year. “Maybe this is an opportunity for us to watch what we’re spending and be a little bit more conservative.

“I look at it from a personal standpoint, too. If this was my bank account, I’d be a little cautious about big expenditures like this. Not that it’s millions of dollars, but nonetheless it is an expenditure.”

The carpet in City Hall was installed in 1999 when the building was remodeled.

Since then, sections of it have been damaged from sewer pipe backups, Public Works Director Anne Lamitola said.

In addition, all the flooring has endured wear and tear from foot traffic and rolling desk chairs, she said.

But Fribis said she toured the public works building and felt the project could be postponed.

“I just have a concern with the money being spent at this time with everything else that we are doing in Sunset Hills — the community center, the pool, et cetera,” she said.

Nolan noted that the city’s community center and aquatic center are being funded with moneys generated from a half-cent, 20-year sales tax voters approved as Proposition P in 2007.

The new carpet and tile would be funded by the city’s capital-improvement tax, he said.

“I think we have a responsibility to the citizens of Sunset Hills to maintain their investment and to maintain their property,” said Nolan, who heads an interior design firm for offices. “Once carpet reaches 12 years of age, its life is expended.”

In making the motion to purchase the new flooring, Svoboda said, “I think we have a resident expert on carpet here, and I would like to put my confidence in the mayor’s judgment on this commodity.”