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Aldermen vote to wait on parking consultant until bids are in for garage

With estimates on the cost of the downtown parking garage being to close for comfort with some members of the Oxford Board of Aldermen, the board voted Tuesday to allow Mayor Tannehill to sign a contract with a parking consultant after bids for construction are received.

Last month, Casey Rogers, with Innovative Construction Management, said increased prices for precast concrete drove the cost of the garage over the $11 million budget; however, he reported that with some changes made to the plans, the projected cost of the downtown parking garage was again within budget.

The Downtown Parking Advisory Commission asked the Board of Aldermen Tuesday to approve a contract with Timothy Haahs & Associates, a parking garage consulting firm from Georgia, at the cost of $56,700.

The aldermen briefly discussed whether the contract should be approved before or after the bids for construction for the garage come in, to make sure they are within budget as projected.

The aldermen voted to allow the mayor to sign the contract with the consulting firm after bids are received, and city officials determine they will move forward with the parking garage.

Tom Sharpe, chairman of the Downtown Parking Advisory Commission said the commission wanted to start working with Haahs & Associates as soon as possible to gain their input on design and revenue models.

“However, if the board (of aldermen), in their wisdom, thinks we should wait, we can work with that,” he said after the meeting.

Rogers said the city will start advertising for bids on April 19 and will receive them on April 27. Construction is projected to begin in June.