Columbus will move ahead with its 2019 street maintenance projects after finding a little more cash in its budget.

On July 9, the City Council approved a plan to provide $141,177 for the repairs, which would include base patching, crack sealing and mill and overlay work. At the June 25 Committee of the Whole meeting, the Council considered four different options for street repairs. Council members, with the exception of Ed Johnson, believe the fourth option would fill a city need this year.

The Council faced a dilemma, however, on how to fund the work. Option D left the city with a $14,000 shortfall. In a memo to the Council, City Administrator Patrick Vander Sanden wrote that he was able to work with Finance Director Kim Manley to fill the gap.

“Following Johnson’s suggestion to look at the vacant police lieutenant’s position I also looked at other new 2019 positions for the city and found that there was a small savings as well in the new media coordinator position,” Vander Sanden wrote in the memo. “With both of those considered, the city would have sufficient funds on hand to accomplish the option that appeared to be the consensus of the Council at the last Committee of the Whole meeting.”

Johnson suggested going with option B, which would provide more street work at a higher cost. Mayor Mike Thom said there are several streets that could benefit from repairs, but option D allows for the most work within a reasonable budget.

“From my years on the Council, it’s been about a $50,000 recommendation from our city engineers every year to put into the street maintenance budget and an emphasis for about the last three or four years to go above $75,000, which still doesn’t go very far,” Thom said. “This option gives us $141,000, if we went with option A or B, we would be almost $100,000 over the average of what we would spend on street maintenance.”

Columbus will hire Wolf Paving and Excavating and Fahrner Asphalt Sealers for the street work.

The Council also approved a contract with Safe Step for sidewalk repairs that includes grinding of a half-inch of deflections or larger in high-risk spots or areas known as potentially hazardous. Public Works Director Zach Navin said Safe Step is a good vendor and will help the city develop a comprehensive plan for further sidewalk maintenance.

New insurance contractor

Also on Tuesday, the Council approved a contract with League of Wisconsin Municipalities Mutual Insurance for $186,284 per year.

Hiring a new insurance provider means the city breaks a longstanding partnership with Richards/EMC Insurance, a local company. However, Vander Sanden talked to several city administrators in other southern Wisconsin municipalities and each had glowing reviews of the League. Representatives from both providers made their pitch to the Council at the June 25 Committee of the Whole meeting.

The Council said both companies received high ratings, but the League presented the best package for Columbus. Thom thanked Richards/EMC for their dedication to Columbus through the years.

Pavilion repairs approved

The city approved a contract with Keller, an architect firm in Kaukauna, to repair a cracked pillar at Fireman’s Park Pavilion. Keller would charge $2,300 for the work.

Since the 103-year-old Pavilion is on the state and national historical register, Navin submitted an application to the Wisconsin Historical Society. He is waiting for state approval. Johnson said Navin should also obtain approval from the Columbus Historical Landmarks and Preservation Commission.

“I would really like to see a strong, solid post put in there,” said Council Member Trina Reid.

The pavilion will also see an electrical upgrade upon approval from the Council. The city plans to hire Voltzwagon Electric from Fall River for $7,200.

Follow Kevin Damask on Twitter @kdamask or contact him at 608-963-7323.

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