On Tuesday, the Cortez City Council gave Public Works Director Phil Johnson permission to seek a civil engineering consultant to oversee parts of the Main Street median project.
In his presentation to the council, Johnson said his staff wasn’t able to properly manage the construction of medians on Main Street and conduct their other responsibilities at the same time. He said he plans to send out a request for proposals to consulting engineering firms around the Four Corners that could supervise the project and make sure the city is meeting all the Colorado Department of Transportation’s requirements. The contract with the consultant would cost the city up to $50,000, taken out of the street improvement fund.
The price of a consultant was not included in the original budget for the median project. Johnson said he and his staff didn’t realize it was a need until after the city approved the project’s budget.
Because the city is receiving funds from the Colorado Department of Transportation for the accessible sidewalk part of the median project, Johnson said it has to meet stricter construction requirements, which have to be reviewed by a state-certified engineer.
“If we were to task our only (professional engineer) on staff, Ken Torres, with this, it would consume multiple working hours, and we’d have a lot of other requirements that he’d have to fulfill for us,” he said.
The city has enough money in its street improvement fund to cover the cost of the contract without dipping into other funding sources, Johnson said.
When the median project was delayed a second time this year, Johnson blamed CDOT’s construction standards, saying it took longer than expected to have the project design reviewed by the state. Slated to be completed by Memorial Day, median construction is now scheduled to begin in June.
Johnson said he planned to start advertising for an engineering consultant on Wednesday and present the resulting bids to the council at its meeting on June 12.
The council voted 5-2 in favor of sending out the RFP. Councilmembers Gary Noyes and Sue Betts, who have voiced objections to the median project in the past, voted against it.
Other actionDuring Tuesday’s meeting, the council also:
Heard a presentation from members of the Common Ground gardening group, who announced their plan to expand the community garden at the Cortez Recreation Center this year.Approved an ordinance designed to correct omissions in the city’s tax collection policies.Approved a resolution authorizing the city manager to approve expenditures for the old Montezuma-Cortez High School property acquisition.Approved a change to the city’s lease with Shaw Solar that will add 88.2 kilowatts of solar power to City Hall.Approved the reimbursement of $4,844 to the Montezuma-Cortez School District, the amount paid for a water tap on the old high school property that the district no longer plans to use.