A second bid for the College Drive project, about $1 million less than a bid received in August, was accepted Monday night by the Brainerd City Council.
The bid, from Anderson Brothers Construction, was for $6,343,822 and was one of four received by the city. In August, Anderson Brothers was the lone bidder at $7,333,169. The council rejected that bid and ordered to re-advertise the project. At the time, the specifications for the project were modified to lower the cost of the project.
On Monday, the council was split in its acceptance of Anderson Brothers’ second bid with a 4-2 vote. Council members Mary Koep and Bob Olson voted against. Council members Kelly Bevans, Lucy Nesheim, Dale Parks and Bonnie Cumberland voted in favor. Council member Kevin Goedker, who historically has voted against the College Drive project, was absent Monday.
Olson voted against because, with a total project cost of about $9 million, if state aid and federal funds expected to pay for the project weren’t available, the city would have no way to cash flow the project.
Koep asked if there was any willingness from the council members who have voted in favor of the project to change their minds.
“With the economy not doing so well, I don’t think there’s any assurance of what will be there,” for funding, Koep said. “The state can’t give us what it hasn’t got.” She added that the federal government couldn’t help either.
Nesheim said those in favor of the project are proposing a safe road that’s essential to the vitality of the city. As far as funding, she said that money was from the gas tax, which the community had paid for years and is dedicated for a project such as College Drive.
Bevans said he supported the project, but with the number of bond funds the city has that are showing a deficit, he asked if a cash-flow plan could be given to the council.
“At least in my mind, it needs to be addressed for the project to move forward,” Bevans said.
City Engineer Jeff Hulsether said that he could present a cash-flow plan. Hulsether and Ron Bray of WSB also said the city would receive 95 percent of the state aid funds, and would be reimbursed from the federal government as partial payments are turned in. About $4.335 million in federal funding has been received for the project.
Bray said there would never be more than $1 million paid out in one month for the project and the contractors were fine with waiting for reimbursement.
The College Drive project could begin as early as October 1, Hulsether said.
The project will include four lanes from Crow Wing County Road 48 to South Fourth Street; reconstruction of College Drive and the Crow Wing County Road 48 intersection; roundabouts at Mississippi River Parkway, Southwest Fourth Street and South Fourth Street; a stop light at Quince and South Fifth streets; repaving Quince Street to South Sixth Street; trails; sidewalks; bridge improvements; pedestrian crosswalks, flashers and deterrents; lighting improvements; and a backage road to accommodate the apartment buildings.
The council, by a 4-2 vote, approved an alternate bid for an irrigation system for the medians and roundabouts. Olson and Koep voted against.
MATT ERICKSON may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5857.