The sticking point for the Pittsburg City Commission, as far as funding several major road projects, has been what to do with the biggest project, a planned overhaul of Quincy Street to the east of Broadway.

The sticking point for the Pittsburg City Commission, as far as funding several major road projects, has been what to do with the biggest project, a planned overhaul of Quincy Street to the east of Broadway.

The plan for Quincy Street, as originally planned, was to expand from two to three lanes from Broadway to Rouse streets, for safety and to meet expected needs caused by Pittsburg State expansion. However, the plans have already been shortened to only stretch from Broadway to Homer streets.

The Kansas Department of Transportation has awarded the city a grant for a little more than $2.5 million. The project, as planned, would also include a new storm sewer system at the intersection of Quincy and Homer streets. At the last meeting two weeks ago, city staff was asked to come up with options and alternatives in how to build the Quincy Street project.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the city got four options in how to potentially change the project, which could save the city hundreds of thousands of dollars.

1) The project as planned, with widened streets from Broadway to Homer streets, with storm sewer improvements at Homer Street. The total cost of this project is $5.8 million, with an estimated city cost of $3.060 million.

2) Same as the last one, except between Joplin and Homer streets, which would be completely rebuilt. The total cost of this option is $5.25 million, with a city cost of $2.76 million.

3) The Quincy expansion would stop at Joplin and taper to the existing road.
This is “considerably cheaper,” and would cost $3 million, with a city cost of $1.5 million.

4) The same as option 2, with the Joplin-to-Homer section being repaved rather than being rebuilt. The total cost of this option is $4.4 million, with a city cost of $2.46 million.

“These are the basic projects, and there are three that would satisfy our original goal,” said Bruce Remsberg, city engineer, referring to options 1, 2 and 4.

Remsberg said that the lowered costs of all the projects from the original $3.3 million project cost are because of a lowered amount in the contingency budget, which caused some nervousness on the point of one city commissioner.

“Because at some point, we thought we would need every bit of that contingency,” said Mayor Marty Beezley. “Now, because of the budget concerns — and I appreciate that — I hope that’s plenty of money left for contingency.”

When asked by Beezley if the city could move forward with one plan, and then, if economic conditions improve, could move to a bigger plan on the project, Remsberg said that was unlikely.

“They’ve given a no-interest loan to us and several other cities,” Remsberg said. “They want to get us off their books. This is our one bite at the apple.”

The commission then asked city finance director John Garrison about how the options would affect the city’s financial outlook. The city has only about $4.5 million in potential bonds to take on before having to raise the mill levy, and plans call for the Quincy Street project to be paid for with those funds.

“Anything less than $3.3 million, say we only spend $2.5 million, that’s $800,000 in budgeting authority to spend and stay under the 9-mill cap,” Garrison said. “That could be KLINK resurfacing projects, that could be other projects, or we could just not spend it.”

The commission took no action on the options on Tuesday, as they were informed that work could proceed for 6-8 weeks before operations would dictate some type of decision would have to be made.

However, some decisions were made by the city on other construction projects.

The city decided to give the approval to apply for KLINK Broadway resurfacing funds over the next few years.

KDOT’s match would be a 50/50 KLINK match, with a maximum of $200,000 each year.

The project has been split into three parts to take advantage of KDOT’s match, with the first a project from Second to Forest streets planned for next summer. The second would be along Broadway from Forest to Jefferson streets in FY 2013, and the final two blocks, Jefferson to Madison, would be done the following year.

These projects would come with an improvement to the water line along Broadway, which is not funded by KDOT’s match. City staff recommended these projects be funded by bonds pledged to be repaid by utility funds.

City staff said this might not cause any rate increases for water and sewer lines, but could not say definitively if it would or not.

“It depends on what else comes along,” Garrison said. “I’m not trying to be cute about it. We’d have to look at those on a case-by-case basis. Possibly [it could].”

Beezley expressed concern about the possibility of rate increases to pay for this, or any other project.

“We’re going on the recommendation,” Beezley said. “We would not want to raise rates. That would be like a hidden mill levy increase. We need to look at it long and hard. I hope we would not cause any water and sewer increases.”

The commission also gave approval to apply for geometric improvements for the intersection of Broadway and Centennial streets. The city could earn a 90/10 match through KDOT for the project. The city would have to foot the bill for a planned water line replacement at the cost of $414,600, as well as the 10 percent match (roughly $80,000), which would total about $484,203 on a project, all told, costing $1.28 million.

The city staff recommendation is that this would be used with revolving loan funds, which are set aside for economic development. This was recommended partly because the intersection would help the proposed expansion of Meadowbrook Mall to the west.

The KLINK project and the Broadway/Centennial improvements are only applications for grants, not an approval of the projects. The commission expressed some desire to determine finances if the projects are selected.

The city also went into an executive session for 60 minutes for matters of nonelected personnel.

Andrew Nash can be reached at or by calling 231-2600 ext. 140.