The Richland City Council unanimously agreed to not make a decision on the lone bid for the first phase of the Hanford Reach Interpretive Center project.
The bid from Apollo came in more than $1 million higher than what the engineer estimated it would cost to complete the site work, road construction, amphitheater, parking lot and parking lot lights.
Apollo's bid with all the options was $4 million. The engineer's estimate was $2.9 million.
The Richland Public Facilities District board Monday decided to take up to 45 days to evaluate the options for the project, which is planned to be built at the west end of Columbia Park.
Board members said they needed time to look at all the options, including whether they want to dip into their own funds to cover the full cost of the bid.
Pete Rogalsky, Richland's Public Works director, told the council on Tuesday that city staff originally had intended to recommend the council reject the bid and re-bid the project because of the funding shortfall.
But, after the PFD's special meeting Monday, Rogalsky said the best path for the council is to simply table the issue and give the PFD board time to analyze the project and make a decision.
The council voted to follow the recommendation. Councilman Brad Anderson was absent from the meeting.
w City Manager Cindy Johnson showed the council part of the trunk from a tree at Badger Mountain Park that was cut down by vandals last month.
Three trees were chopped down, 30 sprinkler heads were broken and paint was splashed around in the bathrooms at the park.
The trees were about 25 feet tall.
Johnson said city workers gave her a section of one the tree trunks and she brought it in to show council members how significant the damage was.
"These were not small trees," she said. "It took them a long time to cut down. They didn't use axes, they used tiny little saws. ... It was deliberate."
No arrests have been made. Johnson said she hopes someone saw the vandalism and will call police and report what they know.
w The council approved the 2013-17 City Council Strategic Leadership Plan goals. The 30 goals aim to provide a foundation for departments to develop two-year objectives, work plans and evaluate employee performance.
The goals fall under seven categories: financial stability and operational effectiveness; infrastructure and facilities; economic vitality; targeted investments, natural resources management, community amenities; and neighborhoods and community safety.
w The council also set 2012 performance incentive goals for the city manager.
The goals also are based on the same seven focus areas outlined in the council's leadership goals.
Johnson's six goals for the year include establishing targets for performance measures; engaging boards, commissions and committees in setting annual objectives in sync with city goals, and developing initiatives to help improve the community's perception of the city's planning process and professionalism of its staff.
She also is being asked to pursue a regional emergency services center, create a community pride initiative based on community survey results, and outline a path for the city's role in the first phase of Hanford land transfer.