At tonight’s meeting (weather permitting) the Winston-Salem City Council will discuss the contract to renovate the downtown Benton Convention Center. Problem is the one bid came in more than $2 million over budget:

Resolute Building Co. of Chapel Hill submitted the sole bid on the project, so it looks likely the company will get the job.

But Resolute’s initial bid came in at $17.9 million, more than $2.2 million over the city’s budget. That has led to substitutions on building materials and other cost-cutting measures to get down to $15.7 million.

In addition, the city is scuttling proposals for $3.1 million worth of “bells and whistles” that had been highlighted in artists’ renderings of the project: things like lighting to highlight building features and facade changes that alter more than just the front of the building.

Adding that to the initial base bid of $17.9 million would have raised the total project cost to $21 million.

Just one bidder certainly paints the city in a corner—-City Manager Lee Garrity said the reason why more contractors did not bid on the project was the tight timeline and the fact that the city wants the center to remain open during the renovations so it would not lose business.

But —as the Winston-Salem Journal reports, some council members wondered “whether the city might save money in the long run to shut down the convention center and get the work done more quickly and at less expense.”