Council approves downtown project with Sande Construction

Humboldt City Council members Joel Goodell (left) and John Sleiter (right) had diverging viewpoints on how much was an appropriate amount to spend to improve the city's main street. Humboldt Independent file photos.

The Humboldt City Council on Tuesday approved the 2019-20 Downtown Revitalization Project with Sande Construction and Supply Co. of Humboldt in the amount of $1,356,827.84.
The approval came via a 3-1 pro vote on the part of the Humboldt City Council. Voting to approve the project were Council members John Sleiter, Jim Myers and Kirk Whittlesey. Ward 3 Council member Joel Goodell voted no.
Goodell made a vociferous plea as to why he thought the city council should re-evaluate the project and rebid.
“When I saw the engineer’s estimate I was squeamish, and then disappointed when we only had two bids. This is one of the largest projects we have taken on, and I don’t feel good about it. I’m not comfortable with the bids or the change orders. This a contentious issue with the public and I can’t wrap my head around this,” Goodell said of the spending for the project.
He noted that when the Council first began to analyze numbers for downtown revitalization, the numbers talked about were $750,000. “This is $600,000 more than that,” he said.
Sande’s original base bid was $1,370,581.05, compared to a bid of $1,597,310.75 from Castor Construction of Fort Dodge.
The revised amount represented change orders, which included revisions negotiated by Sande, the city and ISG, the city’s engineering firm. There was a deduction of $161,261.11 for plantings, shrubs amended soil, demolition of city light poles and traffic signals and elimination of Sunday concrete pours. The second change order was an increase of $147,507.90 for new street lighting, a new electrical cabinet and electrical service to the four-block downtown area on Sumner Avenue.
“We’ve been pretty fortunate over the last two years to have been 12-20 percent below the engineer’s estimate on projects. This one is over,” Sleiter said.
Sleiter also noted that the city water plant rehabilitation was nearly five times more than the city will be spending making improvements to the downtown.
Sleiter said since the project is in an urban renewal area and tax increment financing funds are being using to pay for it, it offsets the impacts on average taxpayers. “It’s not like we are telling Humboldt taxpayers we are going to increase your taxes to pay for this.”
In fact, for the budget that will go into effect on July 1, the city council reduced local taxes by nearly $2 per $1,000 valuation.
Also on Tuesday, Humboldt City Administrator Travis Goedken reported that the city’s Standard and Poor’s Global Ratings has increased the city’s financial outlook from “A- with a stable outlook to A with a stable outlook,” meaning that the bonds the city is issuing to pay for the project are more attractive to investors.
Read more about this story in the Humboldt Independent newspaper. Available in digital and print editions by clicking on the subscribe link at the top of this page.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet