Baxter council votes to seek bids on street projects
BAXTER--Justin Barrick, Oak Street resident, made one more appeal asking the Baxter City Council Tuesday to delay a street paving project for a year.
BAXTER-Justin Barrick, Oak Street resident, made one more appeal asking the Baxter City Council Tuesday to delay a street paving project for a year.
In the end the council voted unanimously to go to the next step to seek bids in order to get a real sense of the cost. Council members noted there would still be time to decide not to go further.
The 2017 bundle of street projects is expected to cost is about $648,525, although the exact price won't be known until bids are returned.
Barrick said he and other homeowners felt blindsided by an assessment notice two weeks before the hearing. He said the anticipated assessment equates to paying six years worth of city property taxes. He said residents want to avoid going into debt as no one living on the street, with pavement in good condition, expected a $3,500 assessment.
Barrick encouraged all Baxter residents to review the city's pavement management plan and look up their streets so they won't find themselves in the same bind as those caught off guard on Oak Street.
"We're not asking to be on our own or have Oak Street thrown to the wolves, or start our own public works department," Barrick said. "Rather simply we want some time to save some money so that we can pay this assessment without having to go further into debt."
Barrick said he wasn't asking the council to dramatically alter its pavement management plan by waiting a year on Oak Street. The street was pulled from its zone up for rotation next year to be added to this summer's projects in order to make the bid package more appealing. At the May 30 meeting, engineers said it was too late to put an alternate street in the mix.
Other Oak Street residents, Barrick said, didn't attend previous meetings or the one Tuesday because they said it was pointless.
"I ask you to take this opportunity to prove them wrong by delaying the Oak Street project specifically for at least one year," Barrick said. "Thank you for your consideration."
He asked the council to pull the street project from the consent agenda, which consists of non-controversial items the council votes on as a group.
Mayor Darrel Olson said these are always difficult decisions, noting there is a chance-if they wait another year-costs will increase. During that time, the street can also deteriorate, Olson said.
"Who is right? Who do you pull it for? And who do you not pull it for?" Olson asked. "I'm not an engineer but believe me after that first meeting I've ridden these roads 100 times."
There is a lot to consider, Olson said. He added instead of pulling one street, because of the project size would be smaller and the price would go up for everyone else, they'd likely need to pull the entire project. That would create a busier 2018 and as far as bonding capacity, Olson said he wasn't sure projects from two construction season could be pressed together.
"Part of me personally thinks that we should take the next step and bid it and see what the numbers are," Olson said. "... At least we would have a real number that we were working with and then we would have the opportunity then to either drive on or back it up."
"I agree," council member Mark Cross said. "I think we should go the next step and at least have a real number and then we can always change it-stop at that point."
Council member Quinn Nystrom was absent.
"I applaud you for addressing the community and coming in and looking at our projects for the future so that they don't come in at the 11th hour and be surprised," council member Steve Barrows said.
Also, Barrows said the residents made the point notices need to go out much sooner. He said administrator Brad Chapulis assured him the city is addressing that notification issue and working to make sure it doesn't happen in the future.