The estimated cost of the sewer plant remodel has increased from $58 million to about $60.8 million, city staff members told Durango city councilors on Tuesday.
Labor costs, material disposal and bringing existing buildings up to code are all contributing to the estimated price.
Voters approved $68 million in debt in November for sewage plant’s costs. The city anticipated using $10 million for nonplant costs.
City manager Ron LeBlanc asked councilors during a presentation to consider the “reality of what we want, and what we can afford, and what are some of the things we can live without.”
The cost estimate includes $1 million for hauling away materials and 10 percent in contingency money for unforeseen labor costs, said Utilities Director Steve Salka.
To pare down costs, the council gave an early nod to some cuts to the administration building design and different sludge-treatment process.
The administration building will no longer have a glass tower and more functional space on the second floor, said Mary Beth Miles, assistant to the city manager.
This building will also be built by a local contractor to get more competitive pricing, LeBlanc said.
The biosolids that the city will produce will be a Jell-O consistency, instead of dry. But it can still be used as fertilizer or taken to a landfill.
The dry biosolid can be sold, but a market doesn’t exist for it yet, and it would cost over $500,000 more a year to produce.
The city could receive more than $3 million in grants to help offset city expenses, LeBlanc said.
“ We need to consider the city is doing a really good job of acquiring grants,” he said.