The cost of an electrical pole inspection program keeps going up as the City of Houston discovers the system has more than twice as many as it first thought, the Houston City Council heard Monday.

Members approved spending an additional $16,000 for a survey of the city’s electrical poles. The council heard that the city greatly underestimated the number of poles in its distribution system when issuing a contract to Osmose Utilities Services Inc. Estimated first at 650, the number increased another 550 recently and now it appears that the count will jump again after an estimated 200-300 poles were found by the firm contracted to examine each pole, determine its condition, develop a mapping and tagging system and initiate a long-term plan for replacement.

Additional personnel have been called to Houston to work on the project, which is estimated to now cost about $83,000. Originally, it was believed the cost would be $57,000. Funds come from reserves in the city’s electrical fund.

By Friday, City Administrator Scott Avery reported 1,078 poles had been inspected and some have already been identified for possible replacement. One trouble spot identified on U.S. 63 will require equipment that the city doesn’t have, Avery said.

In other matters, members:

•Approved Archer-Elgin Engineering Surveying & Architecture of Rolla to provide architectural services for a bath house for the Houston Municipal Swimming Pool that is under construction. It was the sole company to provide qualifications. A St. Louis firm, Navigate,  was previously hired to oversee the pool effort.

•Authorized participation in a MoDOT program that assists in the cost of the city bus service.

•Reviewed a mockup of an updated city website that will cost about $8,900.

•Approved a five-year lease on a new copier for city hall after the current one no longer functions. The cost is not to exceed $8,817 for the lease. Additional per copy charges apply for black and white and color copies.

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