$1 million ‘windfall’
The latest 11th Street news has left city officials feeling like a million bucks.
The low bidder on the anticipated big street project is a Port Aransas firm, Island Construction, and the company’s bid was $5.4 million – $1 million less than the city had budgeted. As a result, taxpayers might end up paying less than expected for the project, or city officials could use the extra money to do more 11th Street work than previously planned.
Voters in May approved a $6.4 million bond issue to finance a complete rehabilitation of 11th Street, a thoroughfare that stretches nearly two miles.
After the election, design and engineering work took a few months. On Thursday, Dec. 15, the city council voted 7-0 to award the contract to Island Construction after seeing that the company was the low bidder. The firms of Haas-Anderson and Bay Inc. also bid.
Getting a bid that’s $1 million less than projected “is great news,” said Dave Parsons, deputy city manager. “We get the project built, and it leaves us with several options.”
One option is to build the project for $5.4 million, avoid selling the extra $1 million worth of bonds and prevent Port Aransans from being hit with a tax bill that’s as high as previously expected, Parsons said. No one has crunched the numbers yet to see exactly how much such a tax break could be, he said.
Another option is to go ahead with the original plan of issuing $6.4 million in bonds and use the extra money to do drainage work that was trimmed from the plan months ago. It was subtracted to make sure the issue could go to the ballot with a price tag that was reasonably low, Parsons said.
The drainage work would mean installing underground culverts in an area between Howard Street and 11th Street, he said.
Yet another option is to issue between $5.4 million and $6.4 million worth of bonds, keeping the extra money on hand in case the city ends up needing to put in an unexpected “change order” for additional 11th Street work, making the project cost more than currently expected, Parsons said .
Mayor Keith McMullin said he expects the council to make a decision on what route to take at its next regular meeting, scheduled for Jan. 19. It could be sooner, if the council decides to call a special meeting, he said.
McMullin said he would like to see the city avoid spending the entire $6.4 million in order to lessen the burden on taxpayers. But he said he’d like to have something more than $5.4 million available in case the city ends up needing to spend more than expected.
It’s a large project in which all kinds of unexpected things could happen, he said.
“Once you start digging and peeling the onion, you start getting into some stuff that maybe you didn’t have budgeted,” the mayor said.
City officials plan to put together contracts for the work over the next few weeks. After the city engineer reviews the contracts and they’re signed, Island Construction will get a notice to proceed with work probably in early January, Parsons said.
The firm will be bound by contract to finish the project within 20 months, Parsons said.
The project will stretch from Beach Access Road 1A to Avenue G. The entire bumpy, two-lane road will be ripped out and replaced with a wider one that has a center turn lane.
New drainage, gas, water and sewer lines also will be installed. The water and sewer lines are not part of the bond package and will be funded through Nueces County Water Control and Improvement District No. 4.
A sidewalk will extend down one side of the new 11th Street, and a hike-and-bike trail will run down the other.
Officials have said the entire project will be done in phases, starting at Beach Access Road 1A and gradually moving north.
Questions? Comments? Contact Dan Parker at (361) 749- 5131 or email@example.com.