The city of Rolla received bids for the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Accessibility Improvements along Sixth and Holloway Street. The project will provide new ADA compliant curb ramps and sidewalks on Holloway Street from Salem Avenue to 18th St., and on Sixth St. from the railroad tracks to Bishop Avenue.

City staff recommended awarding the bid to the lowest bidder, Donald Maggi, Inc. in Rolla, for the amount of $446,994, and $251,270 of federal funds will be provided for the ADA Accessibility Improvements.  The remainder of the project will be funded through the Rolla Street Fund, according to Rolla Public Works engineer, Darin Pryor.

The budget for the project was $378,000, and the Rolla City Council addressed the matter of the Rolla Public Works Department surpassing the budget allocated for the project, along with how the city handles engineer change orders, which may result in a project going over budget, at the Dec. 17 Rolla City Council meeting.

The city had received six bids for the ADA accessibility improvements, and Rolla City council member, Steven Jung, noted that the bids varied widely, and wanted to make sure that the public works department was keeping an eye on engineer change orders that “push those numbers up after we approve them.”

“If we have to add $100,000 to this they are not the low bidder anymore. My point is when I see numbers that are this broad, I just want to make sure we are looking at that,” said Jung.

The matter of engineer change orders led to Rolla City Administrator John Butz explaining how the city handles change orders, in which any engineering change order over 10 percent or the aggregate of 25 percent has to come back to the city council.

It was further highlighted that even with a change order; the last project that was undertaken by the Rolla Public Works Department and recently completed had remained under budget.

“We have done several phases of this work. I think the guys that were out of the area, which were some of the really high-end ones, Jefferson City, in particular, they are big firms, this is the contractor working on every corner, and this is not what the big firms do very well,” said Butz.

The Rolla Public Works Department submitted a budget document to the Rolla City Council that estimated the total expense for the project as $378,000. With the federal funds covering $251,000 of the federal aid project, $127,000 was to be covered by the city street fund.

With the low bid coming in at $447,000, this would take the project $68,000 over budget, according to Rolla Mayor Louis Magdits.

“Instead of having a hole in the budget for $68,000, can we do a little bit less in this budget year and carry some over to the next budget year?” asked Magdits

Pryor said, the completion date for the project would be around May 2019, so Magdits asked how the public works department plans to make up the $68,000 in their budget. 

Council member, Matthew Crowell added, “We have done a lot of these sidewalk projects, it just seems like we should be able to better appropriate.”

Rolla Public Works Director, Steve Hargis, stated the department had enough money in reserves, and all of the ramps have to be replaced in Rolla to comply with the ADA —   there are over 1,500 ramps in Rolla and the cost of replacing the ramps is around $2,000 per ramp. 

“In the big picture, this is a small adjustment in the overall planning to get all of those ramps taken care of,” said Hargis.

The application was put in over a year ago, and the department didn’t realize how much work the project was going to entail, and the public works department is typically under budget every year, said Pryor.

“I appreciate that Steve, but if every department overshot their budget by $68,000, that is a lot of money,” said Magdits. “I don’t want to make a big deal; I just want to reinforce that we have budgets, and we have budgets for a reason.”

Rolla City Administrator Butz added that there is always some type of cost savings that the department can incur for the budget year, so a motion was made and seconded by the council, who unanimously voted to award the bid to Donald Maggi, Inc. in Rolla for the ADA Accessibility Improvements, Project 448, Federal Aid Project No. STP-5200 (919).