The $52 million question: How so high, how so fast? Someone obviously led Yarmouth astray.
That figure is proposed to expand or renovate Yarmouth’s four schools. But just a few months ago, the cost estimate presented to Council was about $35 million. How did it get to $52 million in just a few months?
The Town Council is being asked by the School Committee to hurriedly recommend this new amount to voters in November. I say hurriedly, because although two years were spent by a genuinely well-meaning and diligent Facilities Committee, the project cost presented to the council spiked 49 percent in just a few months. That’s not a rounding error. Someone was negligent in previously presenting the council with such inaccurate estimates.
I believe the Facilities Committee and the School Committee are sincerely frustrated due to events and conditions beyond their control. Construction can be that way. But someone let the council down, by presenting a 49 percent cost increase in June. The School Committee is irresponsible in expecting the council to simply go along, without carefully re-evaluating the project’s new cost. The council was misled in prior estimates. The School Committee should not attempt to intimidate the Town Council into a hurried decision.
Please, Yarmouth Town Council, do your “school homework.” It’s time to step back, get into the weeds of the revised construction costs, and get comfortable with your decision. Then let the voters ultimately decide, maybe in a special election. Don’t hurry your decision.