Speaking notes for Joint meeting of City of Frederick Mayor & Board of Aldermen and Frederick County Council 2016.06.22

Good evening I would like to talk about the hotel.

We’ve got our own Little Big Dig. Like the infamous Boston Tunnel project the price keeps growing. As recently as 2013 it was $45m total cost $10m to $12m public sector cost.

In 2014 it went to $64m, $21m to $22m taxpayer 

Last year it went up to $70 million, $25m

Then $82m, $31m

In two years it doubled in cost and public sector support nearly tripled

It included Parking Deck 6 and land purchase.

But this year an MSA cost consultant Peter Forella produced the most detailed costing report yet — 68 pages. His report says the most likely cost for the project is $121m, nearly a 50% rise on the latest City estimate of $82m.

We’ve never been told about this report. The City tried to bury it. We had to go to Baltimore to get it from the state Attorney General’s office.

We visited Stadium Authority staff. They are very firm that public sector cost needs to be kept to $31m. None of the numbers add up any more. Parking Deck 6 has been dropped. But more parking has to be built onsite to compensate. The MSA has called for a Scope Reduction Effort and that was agreed February 11.

The Forella report says that site conditions require special foundations for the structure — unusual piling — and that the Plamondon proposal failed to explore this, adding an element of risk to the project.

The four party talks aren’t going anywhere until this is sorted out.

This project has been shrouded in spin and secrecy.

I’d cite in addition  to the Forella cost report these important documents have been buried from scrutiny:

— JLL’s work product reports and memoranda. They were paid $334,000. What did they write?

— Plamondon’s late 2013 proposal that JLL worked on before the RFP went out in February and during the blackout period. Why wasn’t that announced? Let’s see a copy of it

— Plamondon’s formal proposal — why the redactions of the financial projections, how much is the conference center expected to lose?

— selection committee report and the scoring

—  traffic impact study which Plamondon proposal said was complete

Ald Donna Kuzemchak once spoke eloquently to the need to face up to facts. That is very much needed now. City staff should not be attempting to bury a bad news report on costs.

2016.06.22

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