Archive for Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Councilwoman questions $30,000 extension of Fourth Street sidewalks

December 14, 2010

Fourth Street’s phase 3 improvements are finished, but the project still stirs controversy.

On Monday, Tonganoxie City Administrator Mike Yanez said $30,000 from an $80,000 street and sidewalk maintenance fund was used to extend the sidewalk along the improved section from the Fourth Street bridge to East Street and add 200 feet of new sidewalk along Finch Drive to the new Fourth Street sidewalk. Doing the work in conjunction with the Fourth Street improvements allowed the city to save mobilization costs and take advantage of Meadow Construction’s low concrete costs in the bid for the overall project, he said.

The policy has been city staff had the discretion to select projects on which to use the fund, Yanez said.

Councilwoman Paula Crook said that should not have been the case, citing the city borrowings of $200,000 last spring to rebuild sections of streets, which disintegrated after the harsh winter. The council was told at the time the $80,000 was inadequate to make the repairs, she said.

There are streets in bad shape now that will need work in the spring, Crook said. The council should have been given the option of using the money on the sidewalks or putting it aside for street repairs, she said.

Mayor Jason Ward said he understood Yanez’s decision, which made the sidewalks more useful and allowed the city savings, but said it should have been presented to the council because of the controversy associated with the Fourth Street project.

The issue was how much discretionary use staff should have with the fund and how much involvement council members felt they needed in its use, Ward said.

As a result of the discussion, Yanez said he would alert the council before using the fund on big projects.

It also was learned Monday some of the asphalt used this fall on Fourth Street was not within the tolerances specified.

The city’s engineering consultant, Brian Kingsley of BG Consultants, said a test showed that a sample of asphalt had too coarse of an aggregate. The problem was only learned after several days when tests on the sample were available, he said.

The city’s options were to accept the work, require the suspect section be replaced or reduce payment through the use of a Kansas Department of Transportation formula, Kingsley said. He recommended the third option, saying the $4,900 reduced payment should pay for any asphalt replacement that might be needed after the work’s one-year warrant expired.

The council also learned it will have to find another $16,000 to pay for its share of the Pleasant Street bridge replacement. The city is to pay for 20 percent of the construction cost of the project, which is to be bid Wednesday, with KDOT providing the remainder.

That 80-20 split also applied to BG Consultants’ construction observation.

That came as a surprise to Yanez, who had understood KDOT would pay all that cost. Money would have to be found elsewhere in the 2011 budget to cover the expense, he said.

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