Linn Street next big project for city of Valley Falls
by Clarke Davis
Rebuilding Linn Street from Highway K-16 to 19th Street will be such a big expense, Valley Falls Mayor Charles Stutesman worries that the rest of the streets will fall into decline because of it.
As three council members pondered letting street bids for this year at the May 18 meeting, the mayor weighed in with the idea of doing the Linn Street in sections — thirds or quarters — in order to keep the rest of the streets from falling into disrepair.
Bettis Asphalt & Construction, Topeka, was the only bidder for an overlay project this year. Hamm Construction would not bid the project because the city is requiring the work to be done prior to school starting in August, city administrator Chris Channell told officials.
The council accepted the Bettis bid of $57,995 to overlay approximately seven blocks. They include two blocks of Elm from K-16 north and one block of 6th Street between Frazier and Elm and 16th and Willow streets inside the Senn Addition.
The council did not accept the Fisher Addition streets at a cost of $43,770.
Both projects were bid because the city did not do any street work last year. Street Superintendent Daryl Courter said the Fisher Addition streets will have to be done next year if not this year. He said the cost was actually less for those because the company’s equipment would already be in town. He thought the bids were reasonable.
Councilwoman Lucy Thomas made a motion to accept both bids, but failed to get a second. Also present were Jo Tichenor and Todd Harrington, who spent a lot of time on the matter but never explained the reason for not wanting to do the second project until the mayor began to involve concerns over the Linn Street project.
The 10-block Linn Street project was estimated to cost $330,000 a few years ago and will probably be more. The street will be entirely rebuilt and will be more costly because it has curbs.
The city’s special street fund has a balance of about $311,000 and prior councils have dedicated the city’s 1-cent sales tax to this fund for that street. This tax raises about $11,000 a month.
Courter was asked to talk to the contractor and discuss the practicality of doing the Linn Street project in sections.
Courter said north Linn Street was rebuilt in 1986 and nothing has been done to it since.
The mayor called a special meeting the next night to discuss streets. Harrington, Thomas, and Shawn Jepson were present for this meeting that lasted about 90 minutes. Harrington made a motion to rescind the motion made the previous night but failed to get a second.
Channel reports that a representative from Bettis will visit the city next week and might come up with some alternative measures for Linn Street that won’t be so expensive.
The council accepted Heinen Custom Operations’ bid of $11,010 to put a metal roof over the shelterhouse in the city park. Also approved was accountant Dave Bogner’s cost of doing the current year’s audit at a cost of $4,800.
After reviewing more than a dozen applications and interviewing three candidates, the mayor and council have not hired a chief of police. The council is looking at some previous applications they received for part-time police officers and are keeping the position open for new applications.
The council emerged from an executive session and hired Mitch Streeter and Colby Herren for extra summer help. Streeter worked for the city last summer.
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