CARSON CITY — It seems timing is everything when going out for street improvement bids.
“Our bids for the street improvements came in about $100,000 over what we had planned for,” Mayor Bruce Tasker told the city council Tuesday night.
According to Tasker, the Spicer Group suggested some reasons for higher bids. One reason given was the cost of gasoline was more than $4 per gallon when the bid process started.
“We opened bids last week and that was when gasoline was $4.29 a gallon,” Tasker said. “We called a couple of bidders and they said they added 20 percent to bids because of fuel cost.”
Councilmen Carl Brune disagreed that bids were high due to fuel prices.
“Gas went to $4.29 but diesel went down, so I’m not buying that reason,” Brune said.
Other reasons Spicer Group gave for high bids from contractors for street repairs seemed to make more sense to council members.
“Most contractors have filled their summer schedules, so this was an add-on for most of them,” Tasker said. “Plus, our tighter schedule requirement to repair around the school. We asked them to start when school got out and to finish before school began again in the fall.”
“We originally budgeted the street repairs for about $350,000,” said City Administrator Mark Borden. “It is about the timing. MDOT (the Michigan Department of Transportation) had bids the same time we did too and that may have added to higher bids.”
After reviewing options, all council members voted to reject all bids and seek new bids again in January or February. However, there is still a plan for resurface and crack sealing this year near the school buildings and some other rough areas in the city.
Spicer Group Project Manager James Ensign presented council members with a summary report Tuesday night from a meeting he had with the Water and Sewer Committee about a state grant opportunity. The grant is for an asset management plan designed for assessing sanitary, storm and wastewater sewers.
“The state has set aside $450 million,” Ensign said. “The grant requires the city to make a 10 percent match for up to $1 million.”
According to Ensign, grant applications are scheduled to be out Sept.1 and are due Oct. 1. He recommended a grant application asking for $400,000 to $500,000.
“This amount is good for the size of Carson City,” Ensign said. “It would require a $40,000 to $50,000 match from the city.”
Ensign said the council should act now because grant money is available on a first come first served basis.
“We will do the grant application at no cost to the city,” Ensign said. “That comes with the understanding we would do the work.”
If the city gets the grant, the work that will come from it includes mapping infrastructure and developing plans for the treatment of storm water. It also would include new wastewater and storm water technologies, according to Ensign.
Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the council introduced a revision to ordinance 38, in which elections would be changed to even years. This would save the city money during city elections.
There will be no change to this year’s election, because it is scheduled for November.
“This is just an introduction of the revision,” Tasker said. “Copies of this revision will be here at city hall and the library for citizens to view and ask questions if needed.”
The city council will vote on approving the revision at the next city council meeting in July.