Tonganoxie City Council reverses 4th Street decision
The Tonganoxie City Council reversed a decision from a week earlier when it voted 3-2 Monday to include the improvement of Fourth Street improvement project in bond issue 2010 capital projects.
The decision came at a special meeting Mayor Mike Vestal said was scheduled after he made calls to council members about the previous-Monday's decision. The mayor said he had his second thoughts because council members opposed to funding the $438,495 project this year spoke of doing it in 2011.
That would require the city to spend money to advertise for bids, advertise the bonds and conduct another bond sale, Vestal said. And he said the city could get higher a higher bid the next time around.
That was the point City Administrator Mike Yanez made while making a recommendation the Fourth Street project — which would rebuild Fourth Street from the Tonganoxie Creek bridge to South Park, add curb and gutter, and construct a side walk on the street's south side — be included in this the bond sale.
Yanez cited estimates from B.G. Consultants, which said the project council could cost $175,000 more if done in 2011 and more than $300,000 if delayed five years.
"Is the time right? Yes, because it will never be cheaper,” he said.
It is estimated the $1.08 million bond sale approved Monday will increase the city’s 2011 debt service mill levy by 1.57 mills to 12.78 mills or .53 higher than it would have been without the Fourth Street project.
The tax increase was a consideration, said Councilman Jason Ward, who proved to be the swing vote when he joined Paula Crook and Jim Truesdell in voting for the project. But in explaining his change of heart, Ward cited obligation to honor the council's awarding the street contract to Meadows Construction in December, the "sweetheart" deal the city got for the project from Meadows Construction, the opportunity of realizing savings in the joint relocation of the waterline along the street, and the chance to avoid added disruption to property owners by doing both projects at once.
City street supervisor Butch Rodgers said disruption would be minimal if the waterline relocation was limited to that needed to connect to the new BPU line to be installed this summer. That would only require relocating waterline near the water plant.
In voting against the Fourth Street project, Putthoff also wondered if the council was getting the right numbers. The previous Monday, he spotted an $220,000 error in the bond request for the city’s match for the Pleasant Street Bridge project.
And Monday’s meeting started with Yanez sharing new figures for the waterline relocation project that reflected a previous understanding that city crews would install the line, which reduced that project's cost by $100,000 to $136,000.
“We believe the numbers are correct,” Yanez said, before apologizing for the previous errors, characterizing the mistake on the Pleasant Street Bridge as “embarrassing.”
Several council members said they shared in the embarrassment, and Ward said it was the duty of all council members to review future bond packets to assure they conformed with costs and previous instructions to staff.
Residents Bill Peak and Dennis Bixby spoke against the street work, saying it could be delayed. They also questioned the 5 percent growth rate assumed in the bond’s 10-year retirement schedule and project’s estimated cost increases.
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