Proposals sought for industrial park roads

Whether streets in Holton’s industrial park should be rebuilt with asphalt or concrete should be left to the engineering firm chosen by the city to handle the street reconstruction project, Holton Street Superintendent Rex Cameron told the Holton City Commission on Monday.

The commission agreed to start requesting proposals from area engineering firms interested in creating plans for the street reconstruction project at the industrial park, with Holton City Manager Bret Bauer noting that the project could get under way this coming spring. Bauer had relayed complaints received about the condition of chip-and-seal roads at the industrial park to commissioners earlier this year.

Those roads have been worn down significantly by heavy truck traffic, with Cameron noting that some trucks on those roads weigh anywhere from 40,000 to 60,000 pounds. It would be better, he added, if those roads were replaced with “either cement or really thick asphalt,” but expressed a preference for the former.

“I’d recommend concrete,” Cameron said. “Chip-and-seal is not working out there.”

Cameron backed up his recommendation by stating that the “life cycle” of asphalt roads “should be about 25 years before you have to do anything to them,” while concrete road surfaces should last “50 years, if it’s done right.” But which of the two road surfaces, as well as road depth, should be used should be left to the engineers to decide, he added.

An engineering firm should also be chosen based on its experience in street construction and its estimates on how long the job would take, Cameron told commissioners. He added that local contractors would have an opportunity to bid on the project.

It had been discussed earlier this year whether city street crews could go out and do the work, but both Cameron and Bauer expressed concerns that if the city were to go that route, it would do so at the expense of the city’s annual street repair program. Cameron reiterated that concern on Monday, stating that even if city crews were to do any construction work as a means of keeping costs down, it would still take away from road repairs needed in the city.

“We could still go out there and put in some curbs and do some other things,” he said. “But then you might plan on nothing getting fixed in town while we’re out there.”

The city’s industrial park is located north of the city limits on U.S. Highway 75 and includes, at Cameron’s estimation, about three-quarters of a mile worth of streets. The commission has reportedly earmarked $1 million for road improvements in the park for 2015, noting an intent to pay for the improvements with existing cash rather than issuing debt to do it and pay interest on that debt later.

In other business on Monday, commissioners:

* Noted the absence of commissioners Tim Morris and Twila White. White later arrived at the meeting in time for an executive session (see below).

* Approved minutes from the commission’s Dec. 3 meeting and budget allocations made since the meeting.

* Met with Anna Wilhelm, treasurer of the Jackson County Historical Society, to discuss the historical society’s activities and hear a request for financial assistance from the city. The matter was tabled after Commissioner Dan Brenner said he wanted more members of the commission present to discuss it, and Commissioner Erich Campbell, as the historical society’s vice president, said he would abstain from voting on Wilhelm’s request.

* Approved an amendment to the city’s 2014 budget concerning expenditures in the city’s special park and equipment reserve funds.

* Approved cereal malt beverage license renewals for Your Place or Mine Catering, Off the Square Grill, Ron’s IGA, Holton Country Mart, K&N Pizza Hut Inc., Haag Inc./Holton 66, Casey’s General Store, Walmart, Trails Café and Catering and 7-Eleven Sales Corp.

* Approved a retail liquor license renewal for Arcada Liquor L.L.C.

* Set the official year-end meeting for 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 31.

* Heard comment from Brenner about the city street crew having “done good” in regard to keeping fallen leaves from storm gutters.

* Heard comment from Brenner about gasoline prices at Holton fueling stations dropping and getting closer to the average of prices in Topeka.

* Met in two executive sessions for a total of 25 minutes to discuss non-elected personnel matters. No action resulted from the session.

* Adjourned the meeting at approximately 7:55 p.m.

The Holton City Commission regularly meets at 7 p.m. on the first and third Mondays of each month at Holton City Hall. For more information, or to be placed on the agenda of an upcoming meeting, call City Hall at 364-2721.

The Holton Recorder

109 W. Fourth St.
Holton, KS 66436
Phone: 785-364-3141

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