The Denison City Council begrudgingly approved $125,000 in additional funds for the renovation of the town’s public library Monday night, meaning the project should be able to begin in early December, as scheduled. A confluence of factors — including rising furniture costs and an expensive oversight by a consultant — meant the original budget of $550,000 will not be sufficient to complete the construction.

The Denison City Council begrudgingly approved $125,000 in additional funds for the renovation of the town’s public library Monday night, meaning the project should be able to begin in early December, as scheduled. A confluence of factors — including rising furniture costs and an expensive oversight by a consultant — meant the original budget of $550,000 will not be sufficient to complete the construction.


"We’re about to undertake a major renovation of the library, which hasn’t been done in over 30 years," said Denison Library Director Alvin Bailey. "So there are a lot hidden costs that sort of came to light. Frankly, we’ve also run into a problem where the consultant missed some of the things we were doing."


Of the increase, $95,000 will come from the building bond fund created for the new Southside Fire Station, and the remaining $30,000 will come from the city’s "rainy day fund," formally called the general fund contingency reserve.


Mayor Jared Johnson and other Council members had harsh words for city staff on the oversight.


"I’ve said for a year that this project is the best dollar-for-dollar project that we’ll do in the city all year," said Johnson. "And I still believe that, but the project creep and the miscalculation of cost estimates is tiresome. It’s tiresome for this Council to deal with bad information for the period of a year. We’ve got to do a better job of getting the information up front. … I’m hopeful that we’ll do a better job going forward."


The library will relocate its most frequently used resources to 306 West Main St. in Denison when the construction begins next month in order to maintain service to area residents. The city anticipates having the renovated facility ready for use in mid-January.


After approving the cost adjustments, Council members took up other business, approving the City’s new infill standards, which loosen the regulations developers must follow when building houses on vacant lots in certain developed areas of the city. Among other changes, the new ordinances permit slightly smaller houses and more flexible set-back requirements. Prior to Council approval, city staff altered the revised ordinance by disallowing vinyl and aluminum siding.


"What this ordinance would do is allow developers to come in and construct a home that has a lesser square footage … that would be compatible with the neighborhood," said Planning and Zoning Director Faye Brockett.


The Council held open a portion of the meeting for public input regarding its $299,000 Community Development Block Grant, but no members of the public chose to speak. The public hearing was required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as a condition of receiving the funds. The majority of the grant money was used by the city to assist homeowners with rehabilitation projects.


Members conditionally approved a request from Cathleena Flores for a late-hours amplification permit, contingent on her securing a late-hours liquor license for her new club in the 4800 block of Texoma Parkway. The Council has previously granted two such applications, to The Office bar and Club Rio.


As part of the consent agenda, which typically passes with minimal discussion, the Council reappointed Tomi Sue Homuth to the Denison Main Street Advisory Board, approved an application to the Smith Foundation for $15,000 to help fund the city’s Fourth of July fireworks display, and approved a bid in the amount of $500 for surplus property located at 627 West Hull.


The Council adjourned the public portion of the meeting to retire into closed, executive session. Council members were expected to receive updates on economic development issues, as well as an update on ongoing litigation over the fate of the Central Ward schoolhouse. The city is fighting to spend $115,000 to raze the structure, while the owner is suing for more time to bring the structure into compliance with the goal of making it a community center.


During the closed session, the Board reappointed Don Skelton to serve on the Greater Texoma Utiliity Authority Board — where he currently serves as Board president — and made two appointments to the Denison Historic Preservation Advisory Board: Helen Johnson as a reappointment and John Akers as a new appointee. Akers is the site manager of the Eisenhower Birthplace.