With less property tax revenue coming in due to Hurricane Harvey, Nueces County Commissioners are hoping to suspend the current work being done around the county to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Officials said the money to complete the work is just not there.
"These projects have all come in over what were originally scheduled for the cost to be," Commissioner Mike Pusley said. "Some of them as much as 50-percent higher than we predicted."
Add to that the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey and the budget for ADA improvements is spent.
"We're going to have about four or five of those projects completed by the end of this year, but when we get to those projects, our $10 million is going to be gone," Pusley said.
For example, work on the Johnny Calderon building in Robstown is almost done. The budgeted cost was supposed to be just over $300,000, but now with cost overruns, it's going to take an extra $181,000.
Work at the Hilltop Community Center has not started, but there are lots of major upgrades.
"If you look over here at these doorways, when this building was built in the 50s they don't meet ADA compliance now, so all of these interior doorways are going to have to be torn out," Pusley said.
That won't be cheap. The $1.1 million budgeted is going up 23-percent to $1.4 million.
The final round of upgrades in the budget will be made at the Nueces County Courthouse where an estimated $5.2 million will be needed to come into DOJ compliance; but come March, Judge Loyd Neal is expected to go to Washington to meet with DOJ lawyers in hopes of getting a five-year extension on the compliance deadline.
With many unexpected factors now in the equation, Pusley said the DOJ will get this message.
"Because of the cost overruns and the fact that, now when you go to hire a contractor, everybody is busy and everybody is charging more money, and it's just much more expensive to do things now than it was a year ago," Pusley said.
With the primary elections about a month and a half away, Pusley said there is a silver lining to all this.
"What we did is move to the top of the list the most highly used places, voting places were number one, and we have fixed all of those," Pusley said.
Still on the list for upgrades are seven outlying county-owned buildings and most of the county parks. Repairs on those, if approved by the DOJ, will have to wait.
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