County raises budget for bridge replacement ; Bridge: Project will be funded by sales tax
Topeka Capital Journal (KS), 2014-06-24
The Shawnee County Commission raised the budget by nearly $140,000 Monday for a bridge replacement project financed by revenue from a countywide, half-cent sales tax.
Commissioners Bob Archer , Kevin Cook and Shelly Buhler voted 3-0 to increase the budget from $680,800 to $819,704 for the project to replace a bridge over Mission Creek on S.W. Docking Road , about one- half mile south of K-4 highway.
Commissioners had approved the $680,800 budget in November 2012 . The county subsequently took bids and found they came in considerably higher than expected because state and federal permitting requirements prevented whoever carried out the project from entering the creek bed to ensure the work didn't endanger the reproduction or disturb the habitat of the Topeka shiner. The Topeka shiner is a small silver minnow that is less than 3 inches in length and is found in six states.
Commissioners opted earlier this year not to accept either of the two initial bids they received on the project.
Tom Vlach , director of the county's public works and solid waste departments, said officials subsequently removed the prohibition on entering the creek bed after learning the county planned to have the work done after the time of year in which the Topeka shiner breeds. The county then sought bids for the project again. Vlach said the county received only one bid, which -- despite contractors now being allowed to go into the creek bed -- was only about $50,000 less than the previous low bid.
He explained that at the time of the initial bid, not much work was available and contractors were "hungrier" than they were at the time of the more recent bidding.
Vlach added, "That's not great news of course, but on a positive note this project is to be funded by sales tax, and on several of our other projects we have come in under budget, so we can still fit this project and do all the other projects that we anticipated within the sales tax program because of the other savings we have realized from previous sales tax projects."
Archer asked if the county should wait and bid the bridge project again when contractors are "hungrier."
Vlach replied that he would prefer to proceed now. He said if the county waits, its easements and right-of-way agreements would expire and have to be renegotiated. Vlach said the negotiations for those "were not necessarily easy."
Future fuel costs were also a consideration, Vlach said.
Commissioners are expected to later consider accepting the bid the county received to carry out the project.
Commissioners on Monday also:
- Heard an update on county expenditures and revenues from financial administrator Betty Greiner . She said the county's revenues through May 31 had been $38,653,000 , compared to a budgeted amount for that time period of $36,870,000 , while revenues had been $51,291,000 , compared to a budgeted amount of $48,921,000 .
- Voted 3-0 to place street lights at S.E. 45th and California , where the county plans to build a two-lane roundabout this year.
- Voted 3-0 to enter into an annual information technology service agreement through which the county will pay $4,999.20 to Eagle Software Inc.
- Voted 3-0 to fill two vacant park maintenance worker's positions at an annual cost of $36,838 each, including salary and benefits, as well as any county jobs that may come open as a result of filling them.
- Voted 3-0 to fill a vacant assistant election system specialist's position at an annual cost of $33,654.40 , including salary and benefits, as well as any county jobs that may come open as a result of filling it.
- Voted 3-0 to fill a vacant road maintenance worker's position at an annual cost of $32,604 , including salary and benefits, as well as any county jobs that may come open as a result of filling it.
- Heard Cook offer his sympathies to the family of Washburn University baseball coach Steve Anson , 60, who was killed Sunday in a tree-trimming accident in Grantville .