WESTON, Mo. — The Weston Board of Aldermen received some bad news this week — to the tune of more than a quarter-million dollars.Curt Talcott, an engineer with Larkin Lamp Rynearson, presented a preliminary report on the Washington and Spring streets reconstruction project to the board at its Oct. 13 meeting. In November 2013, voters approved a $2.3 million bond issue to rebuild infrastructure along those two roadways.
Earlier this year, the board authorized the sale of $200,000 in bonds to fully fund the engineering of the project.
Talcott said the preliminary estimates were coming in about $300,000 over budget due to several factors. A portion of this could potentially be offset through the construction contingency fund, he said. The inflated estimate is due to an increase in construction costs from last year with the price of asphalt continuing to sharply increase. Additionally, there was a slight miscalculation on the width of a section of Spring Street, and the original plans never accounted for replacement of water and sewer lines on Spring Street.
Talcott said that according to director of public works Mike Large, Spring Street lines were aging and now would be an ideal time to replace them. However, $30,000-40,000 of that cost overrun could be immediately saved if an inspection showed the sewer lines merely needed to be lined instead of replaced.
“We’ve tried to value engineer the project as best as we can,” Talcott said, adding that some cost-cutting measures have already been made on the project.
The project is set to go to bid in March to allow time for easement acquisition and utility relocations before the last day of school in May.
“The idea is as soon as school is out we can start tearing out Washington Street,” Talcott said.
Weston mayor Howard Hellebuyck said for now the best course of action was to see how bids come in next spring.
“There may be a change in the market by then,” he said, noting at that time the city may be able to whittle away at the overrun, then consider methods to fund the remainder.
Also at the meeting, Weston Park Board member Lee Robertson begged the aldermen for help – of any kind. Robertson said the park fund, which totals about $35,000-40,000 in annual revenues, has been severely taxed this year.
“I don’t have a specific request to you, except that we need help,” Robertson said. The board is down several members, he said, and needs additional help — a problem quickly addressed by the appointment of
Jeff Keogh and Traci Kalec to positions later in the meeting.
This summer, Weston resident Bob Jungk proposed a land swap with the city, giving the city access to Weston Bend State Park. A trail connecting Bless Park to the state park has been proposed with an additional cost to the park fund.
Robertson also questioned the purchase of land near the Fiddler’s Ridge subdivision for a future park. The land cost $5,300, which was taken from the park fund and not the city’s general fund.
“We’ve bought a park to which we have no public access,” he said. “This will be a city park that will only be available to the people who live right there. I don’t know if this was the intention.”
Additionally, the city has been working to develop Shafer Park and has been faced with expenses from emergency tree removal from the downtown park.
Pat Egan of the Weston Chamber gave a report on Applefest, which earned $8,582 from the one dollar voluntary entry fee instituted this year. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the West Platte marching band to help fund its trip to Washington, D.C. next year.
The board tabled further discussion of the city truck route until the regular November meeting.