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By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — The Roosevelt Street project from Third Avenue to Fifth Avenue on the south side of Colfax is ready to go out for bids and will cost an estimated $259,000.
The $259,000 price tag was generated by a computer program, but the village has already paid the engineering fees on the project, said Lisa Fleming, a civil engineer with Ayres Associates, at the Colfax Village Board’s February 11 meeting.
Engineering fees listed on the project estimate Fleming provided to the village board are $19,300.
Several years ago, Fleming recommended the village contract ahead of time for engineering on projects listed on the village’s street improvement plan so that when the village had saved up enough money to do a project, the engineering would be finished, and the project could move forward into the bid phase.
Invitations to bid on the Roosevelt Street project will be released March 6. The bid opening will be April 3, and the village board can review the bids and accept or reject them at the April 8 village board meeting, Fleming said.
The street project will begin in mid to late June, she said.
Gary Stene, village president, asked Fleming what the average increase in cost per year has been for street projects.
“I always want to be the highest bidder in the room,” Fleming said, adding that if the project estimates are high, then there are likely to be no surprises when the actual bids are received.
Fleming said in her experience, over the last three years, prices for street projects have been holding steady.
Asphalt prices will fluctuate with increases or decreases in the price of oil, although bridge projects will cost substantially more now because of the steel tariffs, she said.
Fleming estimated that street projects increase by perhaps 3 percent per year.
“When the price of oil is down, that’s a good time to do a street project, but we do not always have the resources to do streets then,” Stene said.
And when a street project is done in Colfax, the sewer and water mains also are replaced so the village is not digging up new asphalt in a year or two to replace failing water and sewer mains, Stene said.
While Colfax is slowly working on rebuilding the sewer and water infrastructure, it does add to the cost of street projects, Fleming noted.
Fleming said she is always “keeping an eye out for money for Colfax.”
For some of the grants available that would help pay for street projects, the municipality must document ownership of all of the right-of-way, she said.
A good strategy is to “chase the money” for a big project “because so much paperwork is involved, you only want to do it once,” Fleming said.
The bidders for the Roosevelt Street project will be bidding on a unit price by linear foot.
The contractors like bidding with unit prices so that if something is a little longer or a little shorter, the contractor can invoice for exactly that amount, Fleming said.
“The unit price takes the guesswork out for contractors so (the village) gets a better price,” she said.
The composition of the subsoil could end up being more of a variable in the eventual cost of the street project, Fleming said.
In some locations, it makes sense to spend money on soil borings so the contractors will know what they will be running into, she said.
Fleming has worked on street projects in the village for many years, so “we know what we are facing in Colfax.”
Since the subsoil in Colfax is not a mystery, the village can save $20,000 on doing soil borings and put the money into the street project, she said.
“We try to maximize your dollars as much as we can,” Fleming said.
In other business, the Colfax Village Board:
• Approved a training request for Sheila Riemer, deputy clerk-treasurer, and William Anderson, police chief, to attend the advanced safety refresher training, a half day course on March 5 in Elk Mound.
• Approved a training request for Don Logslett, Department of Public Works, to attend safety refresher training, a full day course on March 5 in Elk Mound.
• Learned that Rand Bates, director of public works, also would be attending the full-day safety refresher training in Elk Mound on March 5 because the training he had been scheduled to attend the next day on February 12, which the village board had approved at the last meeting, was being cancelled due to a winter storm.
• Approved purchasing three new computers, two for the Colfax Police Department and one for Riemer, at a cost of $2,868 from Cramer Consulting, LLC in Rice Lake.
• Approved proceeding with the purchase of a lift station generator at a cost of $27,615 plus $5,000 for the generator switch. The existing generator, which Bates described as “World War II” vintage, has been quite troublesome. When a transformer blows — a year ago and then again a month ago — the generator starts to operate the sewer lift station, but then it over-amps and blows fuses. The last time it happened, the lift station sump was six inches from running over, and “there is no way to pump it out,” Bates said. Financing options for the sewer lift station generator will be considered at the next village board meeting.