"I truly feel you are trying to stall or torpedo this project we have in place because you're against it," Hamner said.
Coomer responded, "I resent those accusations because they are untrue."
The items were added to the meeting, which was originally set to pay bills and conduct other minor business, because Coomer said "time is of the essence" since the project is scheduled to begin in the spring.
But, at the request of Commissioner Terry Crowley, who was absent, Coomer said there would be no action taken on any of his agenda items until the Jan. 7 meeting.
"By that meeting, we'll find out who is willing to consider these things and who is not," the mayor said.
Hamner said she would add her own list of items to the agenda "so I can see where people stand on them."
The plan for city hall
In November, Coomer joined Hamner, Caudill and Crowley in a vote to go ahead with a plan to add 7,000 square feet of office space to city hall, renovate the existing building for use as a police facility, and finally renovate the police/fire building across the street for use solely by the fire department.
The estimated cost for all three phases of the project is $4.6 million, or an average of $141 per square foot, according to Brandstetter Carroll, the architectural firm hired by the city to conduct a survey of its buildings, develop a facilities plan and design the project.
The architects recommended the plan approved by the commission as the most cost-effective way to make the best use of its existing buildings.
Though Coomer voted with the majority to green-light the long-delayed project, he has always endorsed the idea of building a stand-alone police facility and doing only minor renovations to city hall.
But, according to Brandstetter Carroll, a new 17,000-square-foot police building would cost $4.2 million. Add in $2.4 million to renovate city hall and $640,000 to renovate for the fire department, and the total cost for all three phases is $7.2 million, an average cost of $174 per square foot.
Though he has never supplied any numbers to back his claim, Coomer thinks his plan is less expensive. He said he believes the police department only needs 12,000 square feet and the estimated cost of renovating city hall is way too high.
"I don't think that figure is valid. Someone needs to prove that," he said of the city hall renovation estimate.
Coomer wants to double the size of the steering committee to give more people input and add more expertise. It was discounted by Hamner, who said having so many members would make the committee "too cumbersome" and make it difficult to get a quorum for meetings.
Coomer wants a contractor to bid on fixing up city hall, which has a badly leaking roof, needs new heating and air conditioning, a redesigned front entrance and other repairs. There also are numerous code violations in the 40-year-old building that would have to be addressed.
City Engineer Earl Coffey explained that such a major project would have to be opened to competitive bids, which would require a list of specific repairs and an engineering plan. All of that would require additional time and costs "and then it turns into the same project you're doing now," Coffey said.
Police need space more than city administration
Coffey also explained to Coomer that city administration offices do not need 17,000 square feet of space, but the police department does, which is why it is more cost-effective to build new city offices and renovate city hall for the police department.
Coomer thinks city hall can be renovated for much less than $2.4 million and still be used to house administrative offices.
"I think we are obligated to explore other options," the mayor said.
Hamner responded, "What you're doing is slowing down the process and while you slow down the process the cost keeps going up."
Coomer said the city needs to be more attuned to its future financial forecast and asked City Manager Paul Stansbury, "Do we know how much we have to spend, how much we can afford to build?"