A $303,536 bid on the city’s 2014 street and alley improvements was approved by the Decorah City Council on a 6-1 vote Monday night.
Skyline Construction of Decorah was the only bidder. City Engineer Lindsay Erdman’s estimate for the work was $303,090.
“I’m scratching my head on why we’re spending so much money. To me, we’re spending a lot of money in repairing one alley,” Council member Charles Lore said, referring to the alley next to the VFW, one of four alleys scheduled for work this year.
Lore voted against accepting the bid.
City Engineer Lindsay Erdman said the bid was divided into two divisions – the first for alley work, $113,146; and the second for streets (11 asphalt overlays), $190,390. He said the alleys vary in length, and the cost for each project is “in the neighborhood” of between $25,000-$35,000.
Erdman explained the alley projects scheduled were initially identified through a review process by Street Commissioner Dave Tollefson and his department.
“They had a recommended list we looked at together along with the street committee. These are the four that came out of the discussion,” Erdman said.
While there are more alleys than the ones identified that need attention, the city engineer said the four selected could be completed with funds available.
“This is a start when it comes to alleys,” Erdman said.
He said the extent of most of the alley projects are “close to reconstruction.” In the case of the VFW alley, he said rock can’t continue to be added or it would create height problems for doors to the VFW and drainage issues, he said.
“I’m seeing a lot of money being spent on a section as long as this room. Do we really want to spend the money on an alley like that?” Lore asked.
When the city receives bids for similar projects, Lore said he’d like to see more details on costs.
“You made some good points,” Council member Gary Rustad said.
He noted the Council started talking about the projects to be completed this year before Lore, who took office Jan. 1, was on the Council.
“I know about the drainage problem into the VFW and the old Dodge building, and I’m confident that what Lindsay put together and what will be done by Skyline will satisfy the needs of all those involved,” Rustad said.