WILLMAR - The Willmar City Council's Public Works Committee last week heard a brief presentation on the 2019 improvement plan, including which streets are on deck to be either reconstructed or overlayed.
The overall estimated costs for all the improvements on the 2019 list is about $6.1 million.
Sean Christensen, Public Works Director, said he would present a more in-depth look of the improvement plan at the Feb. 19 meeting of the council. The presentation to the committee was just a first look.
The roads listed for reconstruction are Fifth Street Southwest from 19th Avenue to the end of the cul-du-sac; 13th Street Southeast from the service road to the south end; 14th Street Southeast from the service road to the south end; 15th Street Southeast from Becker Avenue to the south end; and 16th Street Southeast from Becker Avenue to the south end. The 13th Street through 16th Street projects were the stub streets removed from the 2018 improvement plan due to budget constraints.
"In this particular year, because the stub streets got pulled last year, that put them at the top of the list this year," Christensen said.
The streets to be overlayed this year are 15th Street Southwest from Trott Avenue to 19th Avenue; Civic Center Drive Northeast from U.S. Highway 71 to Kandiyohi County Road 9; and 19th Avenue Southwest from First Street to County Road 5.
The council members and Christensen understand that some residents will most likely be disappointed that their streets were not chosen for repairs or reconstruction.
"There is a method to this madness," Councilor Andrew Plowman said, adding streets are not chosen arbitrarily. Public Works has a system that rates the streets based on condition.
Christensen said he will be prepared to defend the streets that are on the list this year.
"The short answer is we don't have enough money to do too many reconstructs," Christensen said.
It costs about $2 million per mile to reconstruct a street, while overlays cost approximately $600,000 per mile.
"The costs of repairs are exorbitant," Plowman said. "They are rising faster than inflation and faster than what can be assessed."
Only the above-mentioned street projects, approximately $4 million worth of the $6.1 million overall list, will be partially assessed to property owners. Projects that will not be assessed include the stormwater improvements to the pond in the Cambridge housing development on 23rd Street Southeast just off U.S. Highway 12, paths around Swansson Field and a traffic light at County Road 5 and Willmar Avenue. Christensen said he will have that exact assessment number at the upcoming council meeting.
"We may have a little tweaking to do," Christensen said. "This is a little bit of a work in progress. I wanted to get the budget to you early."
The council will need to hold a public hearing on the improvement report before passing a resolution to approve it. Christensen is also asking for the council to approve the estimated costs of the projects at the same time, a new addition to the process this year. It is hoped that would reduce the chance of projects being pulled later due to budget reasons.
"Let you decide yea or nay on projects based on budget numbers in front of you," Christensen said.
The estimated costs do not mean the city has the money to do all the projects. The council will have to decide how many of the projects will move forward.
"This budget is to say 'this is how much these projects will cost,'" Christensen said.