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Reader Input: Scrutinize those shelter costs

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Placer County Animal Shelter is $18 million over what it would and should be built for.
As a California contractor, I built over 60 new homes in Placer, El Dorado and Nevada counties from the 1970s to 2005 and, like most licensed contractors, those homes were finished on time and budget.
My point is that today in Placer County, contractors can build quality homes for about $140 to $150 a square-foot and usually less for commercial construction.
The new animal shelter costs are at $674 per square-foot. It is the disparity in building cost that brings many questions to mind. Here are just a few.
What influence do elected officials have in the planning and bidding process?
Who decides on construction specifications?
What contractors are allowed to bid the job?
Is this job to be built to uniform California building code or something else that is not necessary?
Do they want a Taj Mahal with soaring ceilings and walls of glass?
Can the public see the plan and specs before it goes out to bid?
Maybe the Grand Jury could take a look at what has driven the cost so high.
It seems to be quite common for government to take bids only from large corporate contractors who claim to specialize in specific types of buildings. These large construction corporations are usually very politically active.
An animal shelter probably has substantial plumbing and some specialized equipment, but is not hard to build. Call your supervisor and ask these hard questions. Let’s keep this development local and have a win-win rather than a lose-lose outcome.
RALPH CARLISLE, Auburn