Plans for an Olympic-size swimming pool in Green Bay’s Colburn Park are foundering thanks to a mayoral veto that rejected Common Council members’ choice of a general contractor for the project.
With a veto handed down last week, Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt sought to block the city Common Council’s decision from earlier in the month to award the project contract to Neenah-based Miron Construction. Council members tried to Tuesday night to override that veto but were unsuccessful.
In seeking to upend the contract, Schmitt said he was concerned by how much the project’s cost would be exceeding the original budget.
Miron’s bid for Colburn Park pool work was for $5.8 million. Even though that was the lowest offer the city had received, it was still about $2 million more than the city originally planned to spend.
Covering those additional would most likely require the use of bonding. A couple of city aldermen said they would prefer to rebid the project after the start of the new year, when city officials could perhaps take advantage of the recent overhaul of state prevailing-wage laws to secure a lower price.
Most members of the Common Council, though, voted in favor of awarding the contract to Miron. Among other things, they argued that waiting might only give inflation more time to drive up the project’s cost.
In the end, though, the prevailing-wage debate was far from the biggest obstacle.
Schmitt’s veto was the first issued by a Green Bay mayor since 1979. Schmitt said last week that his decision was in part the result of his reluctance to put more money toward a project that was never expected to generate enough money from user fees to cover its own operating budget.
Common Council members responded by trying to override Schmitt’s veto at a meeting held Tuesday. To be successful, the override proposal needed eight “yes” votes. It received only six.
An official at the Green Bay Department of Public Works was not immediately available on Wednesday to comment on the future of the Colburn Pool project. Following Tuesday’s Common Council meeting, at least one alderman told local media that the city may end up not building the pool.