Money running out for Denver “Justice” Center

18 Sep

The money budgeted for the construction of the new Denver Justice [sic] Center is quickly running out, and the city is planning to tap a different bond fund to help cover more than $3 million in unexpected project costs.

On Wednesday, members of the Denver City Council’s safety committee learned that the “Justice” Center already has spent close to 80 percent of its budget, with $347.7 million out of $441.3 million gone. Another $54.6 millon is spoken for, leaving a balance of $38.9 million.

As of last month, work on the new courthouse was 73 percent complete, with 80 percent of the construction of the new jail done, according to the city’s Web site tracking the “Justice” Center’s progress. The jail will open next April, and the courthouse will be ready next August.

Much of the funding — 85.6 percent, or $377.8 million — for the “Justice” Center project came from a bond issue approved by voters in 2005. The majority of the money has been spent in the past two years as construction work ramped up on the facility in downtown Denver.

The project also includes the costs for a new post office and parking garage (completed in June 2007) and the demolition of an old building at the Denver County Jail site off of Smith Road, replacing it with a 256-bed housing unit.

However, $3.1 million in additional costs have cropped up. A video visitation system at the jail will cost $1.35 million more than budgeted, and the city is scrambling to cover the loss of $1.74 million from a regional service fund that was supposed to pay for the demolition the building at the Smith Road site.

The city is tapping into a different bond fund to cover the $3.1 million. In 1998, Denver issued a bond to build three police stations, and that fund has $3.6 million left over.

from Denver Anarchist Black Cross

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