City narrowly approves bid on Fourth Street construction
After years of debate and delays, Fourth Street phase III has cleared its final hurdle.
Now sometime next year, contractors and city crews will be out widening and installing sidewalks in this highly contested section of Fourth Street.
“I‘m glad we got it behind us now,” Tonganoxie Mayor Mike Vestal said Tuesday. “I know that if we waited, it would have cost more. If we were going to do it, we needed to do it now before the prices got any higher.”
On Monday night, the Tonganoxie City Council voted, 3-2, to award the construction bid of Fourth Street phase III to Meadows Construction for $388,202.50. Councilmembers Tom Putthoff and Burdel Welsh cast the dissenting votes.
Putthoff said he didn’t want to move ahead with the project because of the cost.
“I just feel that we need to reduce our spending as much as possible,” he said. “At this time, I really don’t see it a necessary item to build the street.”
Mike Yanez, city administrator, said that the city was looking at a one mill increase in 2011 to start paying for the project.
Councilmember Jason Ward and other councilmembers didn’t disagree with Putthoff’s comment, but said the project had been in the works for more than three years and the city wanted to take advantage of eager contractors looking for work.
“Really it comes down to a policy decision,” Ward said. “Are we willing to move forward with this project knowing that it may impact the mill levy but at a price that we may not be able to beat in the future?”
During the meeting, Brian Kingsley, with BG Consultants, the city’s engineering firm, presented the council with four different options. The city could either have a concrete or asphalt street, and the city could have the city crews or the contractors build a water line as part of the project.
The city asked contractors to bid on a concrete alternative to an asphalt street because at $50 a ton for asphalt, a concrete street could have been less expensive, if not comparable to constructing an asphalt street.
The difference in low bids to build a concrete versus an asphalt street was $61,561, but Kingsley said a concrete street would have cost the least to maintain and would last longer. He said in five to eight years, when the street needed to be resurfaced, if asphalt prices changed it could get very costly for the city.
“You get 10 years down the road and asphalt is $150 a ton, we are going to scratch our heads and wonder why we didn’t build a concrete street,” Kingsley said.
Ward made a motion to accept the first option, which was to have Meadows Construction, the low bidder, to build an asphalt street for $388,202.50 and have the city crews build a waterline for $136,041.
“To me it just seems to be inconsistent for us not to not use the same material down Fourth Street,” Ward said. “There has to be some efficiency that our crews work more on asphalt streets than they do on concrete streets.”
Kingsley said city crews currently didn’t have the equipment to maintain concrete streets as they do for asphalt streets, so the maintenance would have to be contracted. Kingsley also said that in tough economic times it is ultimately up to the council to make the tough financial decisions when it comes to spending tax dollars.
Welsh said he voted against the project because he was in favor of a concrete street.
In other business, the council:
• Accepted a check in the amount of $2,016 from Shawna Gilmore on behalf of the Pete and Margaret Leighty Trust. Gilmore said the money was presented as a gift for the city to purchase new downtown banners similar to the banners placed on the corners of Fourth and Bury streets. JW Evans donated the current banners. Vestal accepted the check on behalf of the city with “a big smile and a big thank you.”
• Listened to concerns from Thomas Fields about his neighbor, who Fields claimed had about 14 dogs living under his front porch. The council said it would look into the matter.
• Unanimously approved the renewal of workers compensation insurance for 2010 in the amount of $43,365.
• Unanimously approved the renewal of its membership to the League of Kansas Municipalities and paid dues in the amount of $2,164.13.
• Unanimously approved draw request no. 2 from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment loan to pay BRW Construction in the amount of $96,404 for work completed on the interceptor sewer phase II project.
• Unanimously approved pay application no. 5 to King’s Construction in the amount of $186,184.73 for work completed on U.S. Highway 24-40 and Main Street.
• Unanimously approved the payment of $18,576.58 to the Leavenworth County Port Authority for preliminary engineering work for the Tonganoxie Industrial Park.
• Unanimously approved the purchase of a thermal imaging camera for the Tonganoxie City Fire Department for $8,000. The money will come out of insurance proceeds from a claim made for a malfunctioning thermal camera and insurance money paid to the city from a non-injury vehicle collision in which the other driver was at fault.
• Unanimously approved the purchase of ultraviolet lights, wiper rings and quarts tubes in the amount of $6,967.40 for the wastewater treatment plant.
• Unanimously approved a resolution defining the boundaries of the city of Tonganoxie to include the newly annexed land for an industrial park.
• Unanimously approved to accept Tonganoxie gift certificates to purchase pool passes.
• Unanimously approved to increase the pay for part time officers and firefighters by $.50 to $13.50. Pay also increased for the city prosecutor who will now receive $105 per hour, up from $85. Pay will remain the same for the city’s: municipal judge, $400 a month; public defender, $400 a month; mayor, $1 a month; city council, $1 month; animal control officer, $500 a month plus mileage reimbursement; part-time public works employees, $9.50-$11 per hours; janitorial services $38 per area, with two areas being cleaned a week.
• Unanimously approved a resolution waiving the requirement of the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. Bard said because the city runs on a cash basis, meaning it only spends the money it has on hand without carrying things over like inventory or accounts payable it doesn’t need to follow GAAP.
• Unanimously approved a resolution declaring the city’s eligibility to submit the Chieftain Trail Extension Phase I project for transportation enhancement funds.
• Unanimously voted to schedule a public meeting during the council’s next regularly scheduled meeting at 7 p.m. Dec. 28 for 2009 budget amendments.
• Unanimously approved ordinances 1290 and 1291, which dealt with the Kansas Department of Transportation revolving loan for the construction projects on Second and Cox streets and U.S. 24-40 and Main Street.
• Updated the job description for Tonganoxie police chief so city staff could start looking to replace Kenny Carpenter, the city’s ºcurrent chief, who will be retiring in April. Some of the changes made to the description remove the language stating the police chief will perform the functions of a patrol officer. Welsh said the department has gotten large enough that the chief has enough administrative work to do that he doesn’t need to be patrolling the city. The description was also updated to say the chief would work independently with supervision from the city administrator. The previous description said the police chief would occasionally work under the supervision of the mayor, but the council stated they did not want the police chief’s job to become political by working under any elected official.
The job will be open to anyone outside of the state, but the council wants the new chief to be a Kansas resident within six months and to have a Kansas law enforcement certification within a year.
Crook wanted the police officer to reside in the city limits and Putthoff suggested the area covered in the Tonganoxie School District, but the other councilmembers thought it might greatly limit the number of applicants applying for the job. The council compromised on a 30-minute response time from the person’s home to the city, similar to the restrictions placed with current department heads in other departments.
Current state regulations bar people with felonies or misdemeanor domestic violence records from serving as police chiefs. The council also added crimes of moral character, crimes of dishonesty and alcohol-related offenses to the list of convictions that will bar service as the chief of police.
• Will meet in a work session at 5 p.m. Monday to discuss a revised interlocal agreement for County Road 1. The 5 p.m. work session will be followed by another work session at 6:30 p.m. to discuss Tonganoxie Industrial Park with the industrial park committee.