Lindsay revs up its road projects

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The Lindsay City Council heard words regarding street projects they have not heard in a long time – Thank You!

The words came from a disabled resident during the public comment period of the Oct. 22 meeting. The man thanked the City for all of the roadwork it had done recently and for smoothing out potholes along streets where wheelchair bound residents frequently travel.

It was a fitting beginning to a meeting that centered around upcoming road projects. City Services Director Mike Camarena asked the City Council to approve bids for one major overlay project and select another overlay project to go out to bid. Camarena informed the Council they currently had $340,000 available for capital improvement projects for the remainder of the fiscal year. He asked the Council to select one of the following projects:

1. Frazier Street Overlay, from Sweet Brier Avenue to Mirage Avenue, for an estimated cost of $68,100 with a budget of $93,400.

2. Valencia Street Overlay, from Mirage Avenue to Harvard Avenue, for an estimated cost of $167,000 with a budget of $225,000.

3. Mirage Avenue Overlay, from Samoa Street to Hermosa Street, for an estimated cost of $155,400 with a budget of $225,000.

4. Mirage Avenue Overlay, from Hermosa Street to Tulare Road, for an estimated cost of $305,600 with a budget of $325,000.

5. Gale Hill Avenue Overlay, from Hermosa Street to Tulare Road, for an estimated cost of $306,225 with a budget of $325,000.

“The more expensive projects are Gale Hill and Mirage because they are so wide and heavily traveled,” Camarena said.

Mayor Pro-Tem Danny Salinas said he wanted to see Valencia Street because it has been on every list of road repairs he has seen since coming onto the City Council in 2002. Councilmember Steve Mecum agreed calling Valencia “the worst” of the five roads.

City Manager Rich Wilkinson cautioned the Council against selecting Valencia because a private company may pick up much of the cost. He reminded the Council that California Citrus Producers Inc. is planning to expand their juicing facility on Valenica to consolidate their California operations, including curb, gutter and some road work to accommodate more trucks. However, CCPI did not give a timeline as to when the improvements would be made only saying it would probably happen sometime in the next 10-15 years.

Councilwoman Pam Kimball asked if the City should take into consideration SB7. The law authored by Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) prohibits a charter city from receiving or using state funding for a construction project if the city’s charter allows a contractor to not comply with state prevailing wage laws. Kimball said if it is approved, Charter Cities such as Lindsay will be forced to spend as much as 33% more on their construction projects.

“Maybe we should do the most expensive one now before we can’t afford to do them,” she said.

City Manager Rich Wilkinson said if the bill is signed by the Governor, it would not take affect until 2015, giving the city a small window to get its larger projects completed under budget.

“I wish we could do them all,” Mayor Ramona Padilla said.

Padilla did suggest doing a chip seal to fill in potholes on Hermosa Avenue from Highway 65 to Elmwood now before the rainy season “to protect our investment.”

Kimball motioned to select Gale Hill as the next overlay project and included a chip seal project on Hermosa not to exceed $10,000. Padilla seconded the motion but it failed 2-3. Mecum followed with a motion to do half of the Valencia Street overlay from Mirage to the railroad tracks, the Frazier Street overlay and a chip seal on Hermosa Street from Highway 65 to Elmwood Avenue for a total cost of $240,000. Salinas seconded the motion and it passed 4-1 with Kimball the lone no vote.

Wilkinson noted a budget balance of $100,000 for street projects. He told the Council he would identify a project that would come in under that amount and bring it back to them for approval.

The City Council also accepted a bid for the Alameda Overlay Project. Originally estimated to cost $145,000 the bid was awarded to Doug Ross Inc. doing business as Central Valley Asphalt for $158,578.28. The City Council selected the project at its Aug. 13 meeting because it affected the highest number of residential homes.

When the six overlay projects are completed, Camarena said 60% of Lindsay’s roads will have been reconstructed and/or overlayed. Lindsay has improved 52% of streets since 2003, according to a color coded map on the City’s website at www.lindsay.ca.us. Lindsay budgeted more than $700,000 in street projects for this fiscal year as a result of an estimated $400,000 increase in transportation funding. And the City may be able to do even more this year as funding sources frozen during retroactive audits following the controversial Downtown Improvement Project in 2009.

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