Friday, August 30, 2013
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City approves purchase of property and $1.77M bid for Pulaski Street project

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[August 30, 2013]  Tuesday evening prior to their regular committee of the whole workshop session, the Lincoln City Council convened for a special voting session.

On the agenda were two action items: the purchase of a residential property on Fifth Street Road and the approval of the Pulaski Street project.

The property on Fifth Street is at 1900 Fifth. It is a residential property that is occupied. The city needs the property as part of the ongoing Fifth Street Road project. The money to pay for the project is part of the Illinois Capital Improvement Plan funding granted to the city over a year ago.

During discussion of the motion, Jonie Tibbs asked how soon the city would close on the property. Darren Forgy of Prairie Engineers said the closing date had not been set, but they will go forward with the closing as quickly as possible.

Marty Neitzel wondered if the city was going to have to pay the current residents of the property for rent at a new location. Forgy said the owners have already purchased a new home, so there would be no rental fee. The city will pay the cost of relocation for the owners.

The amount the city would be paying for the property and owner's move was not disclosed.

When the item came to a vote, it was approved unanimously 8-0.

Next on the agenda was the approval of a bid by Stark Excavating for the reconstruction of five blocks of Pulaski Street.

Forgy was asked if the bid included the demolition and subsequent work on the Oglesby Street bridge. He said it did not.

Asked the cost of the bid, Forgy said it came to $1.77 million. However, the city administrator, Sue McLaughlin, warned the council that in the end the cost would probably be closer to $2.1 million. She said the cost was a contingency figure built into the project as well as the cost of construction oversight.

She said the city received only two bids for the project, and that yes, the figures were high, but she had looked at the long-term capital improvement plan, and the money was going to be there. She said there could be some cash-flow issues, as the project would have to be spread across two fiscal years.

David Wilmert asked if the project being quoted was still for a five-block area, and he was told that it was.

Marty Neitzel asked if Illinois American Water had work to do in that area as well. Forgy said the company had been contacted and had said their lines in that area were in good shape and they would not be doing any major work. He said they did note a few water valves that may be changed out.

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Jonie Tibbs asked about the thickness of the concrete, noting that the specs called for 7 inches of concrete for the road but 8 inches for driveways. She wondered if those were commercial driveways with heavier traffic. She was told that they were.

Forgy said that in writing the specifications, they could have gone with 6 inches of concrete in portions of the five blocks but decided it would be best to keep it at 7 inches all the way through.

Tibbs said that on the other end, the concrete is actually 9 inches.

Tibbs moved on to a question about the trees, saying the specifications called for removing 26 trees. Forgy said he didn't believe they were removing that many. They are removing some, and they are also replacing some.

Wilmert commented on the project: "My trepidation started when this went over the first time. Now 1.77 (million dollars) and going over 2 (million dollars). I've driven that stretch of road over my lunch hour, and yes, it was bumpy and I'd like to see it fixed, but my wheels didn't fall off. I can't look anyone in the eye and tell them I spent 2 million dollars on five blocks of street when we're considering putting a tax on them. I just can't do it."

He went on to say he knew the Pulaski Street project was important, but he thought maybe there were some other things that are more important.

Tibbs commented: "I beg to differ. Pulaski Street is a main artery into our downtown, and I feel it deserves much better than what it has right now."

Bruce Carmitchel said he was going to vote for the bid because he believes in the concept of the capital plan that the city has drawn out. He said he realized as well that with this kind of increased cost, the city may have to sacrifice a project or two, but this was the first priority of the plan, and because of that the city needs to keep that priority and move forward.

McLaughlin reminded the council that the project is also going to tackle some of the combined sewer issues it is facing. While the street is under construction, the separated sewers will be installed in that area.

Forgy also commented that it would be good to remember that by going with concrete, the city is going to have a road with a 50-year life span. He said the savings on maintenance and repair would go a long way to offset the total cost of the project.

Wilmert countered that he fully understand priorities, but he just thinks maybe the city has too many priorities right now.

When the item came to a vote, it passed 7-1, with Wilmert voting against.


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