Unfunded Orange Street project dips into city reserves

Cameron Public Works Director Drew Bontrager announced the nearly $500,000 Orange Street Project will not have enough funding to commence, prompting a request to dip into the city reserve fund.

The request came after Bontrager announced the lowest bid for the project came in $75,000 higher than engineers anticipated with Lehman Construction, LLC winning the lowest bid at $497,270.

“It was approximately $75,000 (from the reserve fund), but there is an additional $27,000 I think we can get in funding, plus there is a potential price reduction on some of the concrete box work,” Bontrager said. “That should be a little bit of a reduction, plus the additional funding of $27,000 will start to bring that gap down to $30,000 or $40,000.”

The project includes installation of two box culverts at the 400 block of South Orange Street, realigning the road further east with existing curb and guttering and eventually linking its storm-water drainage with an existing drainage at East Prospect. Where the project fell short of funding was it was not identified on the Missouri Transportation or Stormwater Fund list and lacked city funding despite having a $300,000 community development block grant funding the majority of the project.

“The public works committee did meet to review the project and recommended we move forward with the project and take the additional funding required from the reserves,” Bontrager said. “There were a total five bids for the project and a local contractor bid on the project. We have a local preference policy. However, our local bid was $49,000 higher than the local preference policy will allow. We should have some savings on construction. We optimistic. We’re also requesting an additional $27,000 from CDGB.”

In 2019, one of the first acts of Cameron City Manager Steve Rasmussen was to increase the city reserve fund to $2.5 million in order to increase its ability to burrow or have funds necessary for emergency projects, such as building the Pony Express Waterline during the 2018 drought. Cameron City Councilman Roy Estes asked Bontrager if it were possible to scale back the project to bring it within budget, but Bontrager responded by saying another round of engineering would cost the city just as much as going forward with the project.

“There are both pros and cons with that. Engineering takes additional funding, additional time and contractors may not give as good of bids the next time around,” Bontrager said. “Right now, we would be utilizing inspectors on projects we currently have going on right now. We will recognize our biggest savings by using the inspector from the Groat Street and Ashland project. This project will be slated for the end of the calendar year. Groat Street’s is final completion is about the same time and Ashland completion is around the end of September … We would either have to relinquish the community development block grant funds or push back the next community development block grant project.”

My Cameron News

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