League City City Council on Feb. 12 spoke at length about an unforeseen extra cost city staff asked the council to approve for a construction project.

An item on the agenda asked the council to approve spending an extra $71,500 on what was originally a $286,000 project to expand the League City Fire Department training room at 911 N. Kansas Ave. by 945 square feet. The majority of the extra cost—about $44,000—was due to the recommended removal of a support beam the construction crew found in an exterior wall that was demolished to expand the training room, department Chief Gary Warren said.

Council members spoke at length about the merits of keeping versus paying to remove the beam, which runs from the center of the expanded training room floor to the middle of the ceiling.

Council members said the engineer who designed the expansion should have determined the beam would need to be removed at an extra cost before the project began.

Warren said the expansion project was designed based on architectural drawings from when the original building was constructed around 1996. Those drawings do not include the support beam.

Council Member Nick Long said it was “disappointing” the original drawings were so inaccurate and said he hoped the city was no longer working with that architect.

Mayor Pat Hallisey said the city has put the council in an “impossible situation” because the expansion project has already begun.

“We wanna get the building done ... but it’s gotta make economic sense at the same time,” he said.

Council Member Larry Millican made a motion to deny spending the $44,000 to remove the beam, and staff urged the council to postpone the item instead so they could see the training room and the beam for themselves before determining it would be OK to let it remain. The council then voted 6-1, with Council Member Andy Mann against, to table the item until the council’s next meeting.

In other business

City Council on Feb. 11 also passed the first reading of an amended ordinance that cleans up language related to the city’s water and wastewater operations.

The housekeeping ordinance change was done in preparation for establishing new water rates to help pay for the $500 million the city expects to spend in the next decade on water-related projects.

At the Feb. 25 meeting, council will approve the second reading of the amended ordinance and discuss the new water rates. It is likely the new proposed rates will be based on meter size, which means residents will not see as big an increase in water rates as commercial businesses will, staff said.