City adds to street overlay program

The city will add about another mile to its street overlay program this year, the result of the low bid being $150,000 under the construction estimate.

Prairie Construction of Opelousas bid $657,709.09 for the biennial overlay program.

The city has more than $850,000 in Capital Outlay funds budgeted for the program, about half banked last fiscal year and about half coming from this year’s sales tax collections.

Those collections in October were about 6 percent - $30,000 -over the same month last year.

Mayor Bob Morris asked the City Council at its meeting Tuesday night if it wanted to add more streets, or more precisely parts of streets, to the overlay project or sit on the difference.

He recommended adding more overlay, noting there were projects left over from the wish lists submitted by council members earlier this year.

The road funds are equally divided among the five council members, who enumerate for the project engineer what streets or street sections they want

The city does such work every other year, banking the money one year and spending it the next. This year, Morris proposed adding current funds to the banked money, essentially allowing council members to overlay twice as much roadway.

The next scheduled overlay project will be year after next, which is an election year.

Alderwoman Chawana Fontenot suggested waiting until the end of the pending contract before deciding whether to add more.

Engineer Andre Aucoin said that is how any add-ons would be handled, as specified in the bid specifications.

The council, with At-large member Jack Burson and Ward 1 member Bubba Bourque absent, unanimously voted to use the road balance on the contract, with the caveat that none will be undertaken before the amended list is submitted to the council.

The road plan is not a traditional priority plan with the order of construction set by pre-determined factors. It is done on the preferences of council members.

Council members earlier this year expressed the hope that the overlay contractor might be able to undertake repair to trails in the Walking Park.

Morris said Wednesday he is exploring ways to get that work done.

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