Memo to Charlotte council: 911 comms center shelved, convention center over budget

Memo to Charlotte council: 911 comms center shelved, convention center over budget

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Several of Charlotte’s biggest projects are not moving forward or are facing budget problems, according to a memo sent to city council members by City Manager Marcus Jones.

The memo explains that the Joint Communications Center and land acquisition on Providence Road for a new police station are no longer happening. It also details budget overruns with the Charlotte Convention Center and Innovation Barn.

The memo from Jones reveals the city is not pursuing a Joint Communications Center, which would have housed numerous Charlotte area 911 services, Mecklenburg County Sheriff Office and Medic.

But after years of planning and acquiring land, costs ballooned to $106 million. Additionally, police and fire chiefs believe that their 911 center needs can be met by adding additional space to a yet-to-be-built police or fire station.

Budget overruns with the Charlotte Convention Center were also highlighted in the memo although creative accounting and future tourism revenues could cover the costs. The city council approved $115 million in January 2018 to add 12 meeting rooms and a pedestrian bridge over Stonewall Street.

But the memo discloses that nearly two dozen bids came in over budget. City staff and the construction manager “value engineered” the project to reduce the overage from $28 million to $12.5 million and CRVA will “utilize its existing fund balance to meet the additional need with a reimbursement from the tourism funds later.”

Other highlights from the memo include:

  • Land acquisition for police station on Providence Road: No longer being pursued as the land would cost $2.1 million of the $2.5 million in the land acquisition fund. There’s also neighborhood opposition.
  • Innovation Barn: Costs of renovations and updates have nearly doubled the project costs from $3.6 million to $6.4 million.

Because of the cost concerns outlined in the memo the city’s Internal Auditor will be reviewing the CMAR (Construction Manager at Risk) method. Three of the projects outlined in the memo are using CMAR’s.

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