Municipal Centre cost adds up to $5 million

MORRISBURG – For the first time, South Dundas officials have made public the final cost of the South Dundas Municipal Centre project. 

The final tally is just over $5 million.

The final numbers were presented at the July 15 regular council meeting, where council decided on the details of how the project will be financed.

“Five million dollars is a lot of money. However, no project gets done without the extras that needed to be done,” said South Dundas mayor Steven Byvelds. 

“Renovating an old structure such as this is a challenge for those involved, but I believe that what we have is worth it. In the end, we have used an old building and brought it back to life to serve the community with a new clinic, library and municipal offices for years to come.”

According to South Dundas chief administrative officer Steve McDonald’s report, the total project cost of $5,001,693.54 included the construction cost of $4,266,690. 

That number was originally expected to come in at $4.1 million; the $3.9 million contract approved by council, plus the $200,000 contingency.

Adding on to the actual construction cost were; some major changes in the project, due to unforeseen structural conditions ($87,000), some additional masonry work ($18,000), miscellaneous minor changes ($28,000) and $40,000 worth of required changes to the clinic space, that council approved.

On top of the construction costs were; $464,000 worth of professional fees for project management, architecture and engineering, $33,000 worth of required studies, $17,000 worth of insurance, $20,000 for the electrical service, $5,000 of miscellaneous expenses and $30,000 interest on the construction loan.

Of the professional fees, including project management and architecture, Mayor Byvelds reported they came in at roughly 11 per cent, which is below the average for work of this nature. “Our other major infrastructure projects all come in the 15 per cent range,” he said. 

Also included in the project cost was the $165,000 purchase of the former St. Lawrence Medical Clinic location in Morrisburg, which was renovated into a new home for the Morrisburg library, with some office space which is being rented to the St. Lawrence Medical Clinic.

Once grants ($10,000), recoverable funds ($8,400) and prior municipal funds committed to the project ($750,500) were factored in to the equation, the balance needing to be financed is just over $4.2 million.

Staff recommended that $200,000 of that come from the existing Morrisburg visitor centre reserve and from working funds, and that the remaining $4 million be financed through Infrastructure Ontario over a 20 year term.

Staff recommended, and council agreed to, a serial debenture as the total estimated repayment costs are about $200,000 less over the 20 year term of the loan. Council also asked that payments be made monthly to save a further $50,000 in borrowing costs.

In the first year, the Municipality of South Dundas’ loan payment will amount to almost $341,000. 

That number will decrease annually, when in 2034, the annual loan payment will be just over $207,000.

This council has set aside fund for the first year’s payment, which will likely come due under the next council. The annual payment that the municipality receives from the St. Lawrence Medical Clinic will also be allocated to the repayment costs.  

This long term debt payment is well within the means of the municipality, which has an annual debt capacity of $1.5 million.

The renovation of the South Dundas municipal Centre is complete, with a one year warranty. 

The only portion of the building that could need some work within the next few years is the roof of the library, which was not replaced as part of the project.

Byvelds pointed out that the cost of the project, was about $195 per square foot. “This figure is very comparable to any new project and demonstrates it was the right thing to do, “ said Byvelds, acknowledging the long-running debate of renovating versus building new. He pointed out that South Stormont’s new clinic build is about $218 per square foot.

“The building is affordable, adds to the asset base of South Dundas and I feel confident that once we get past this debate, we will look back and be amazed at how we did without such an asset in the past.” 

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