Should Gilroy pay prevailing wage or save 20 to 30% on new library?

Bills

Gilroy’s City Council was slated Monday evening to discuss
whether to pay prevailing wages for construction crews working on
the new library building. Not paying prevailing wages could save
the city 20 to 30 percent on labor costs.
Gilroy’s City Council was slated Monday evening to discuss whether to pay prevailing wages for construction crews working on the new library building. Not paying prevailing wages could save the city 20 to 30 percent on labor costs.

City Attorney Linda Callon said during Saturday’s City Council goal-setting session that that there may be a way to avoid paying prevailing wages to construction workers, and she planned to investigate the matter further.

City officials estimate that the city may be able to save 20 percent to 30 percent on labor costs if the city does not pay prevailing wages, which could amount to $3 to $5 million in savings.

Ultimately, that could mean shaving about 10 percent to 15 percent off the cost of the entire project, Councilman Bob Dillon said.

On the other hand, Dillon said the city is not sure if any of the firms that have bid on the project thus far are non-union, which would be essential if the city expected to avoid paying the prevailing wage. Dillon said he was reluctant to delay the bidding process, as he expects the city to get a good bid at this time because of the struggling economy.

Councilwoman Cat Tucker noted Monday morning that whatever contractor is used must construct the building to meet high environmental standards.

The city has preselected about six to eight potential contractors for the project after taking bids, she said.

Council members agreed with her when she said, “We’re on a tight timeline.”

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