As of a recent update, they seem to have revised the Imperial levels. Before, each level built one widget, but now they can built multiple types of widgets. If you delivered a Supply Officer to a level, they would begin construction of the widget. But now, you have to pay to start construction of an item - what if you deliver a Supply Officer to a level which has not started construction? Do you still have to pay to start it? I can't tell since I haven't received a Supply Officer for a while now.
Sidenote: It seems like this new update has made everything more expensive. The returns on the missions are ridiculous - one mission requires 66 components and pays out less than 75K gold - starting the construction for them is going to cost me more gold than that already!