Council concerned over South Broadway work

Keywords: Poll question,

The U.S. 160/491 South Broadway Reconstruction Project that started July 9 is already two months behind schedule, the Cortez City Council was told Tuesday night.

Jack Nickerson, the public works director for the city of Cortez, said the contractor is now in the penalty phase.

Nickerson said he does not know how Lawson Construction will be able to hit the target completion date of Dec. 15, especially since little work has been done since the project started.

But Nickerson said that he has been told that the project will still be finished on time, even though it is currently behind schedule.

He said the Colorado Department of Transportation and Lawson Construction both know that they can work on the weekends to move the project along, but added this rarely ever happens.

Nickerson said the contractor is not taking advantage of working days and nights or implementing a 24/7 work schedule.

Nickerson said that Lawson Construction was $1 million under the next lowest bidder.

“You get what you pay for,” Nickerson said, and mentioned the claims that some unknowns existed in the soil should not have been the case.

He said maps, documents and conversations with the contractor should have given them some ideas on what was going to be encountered in the trench work at Seventh Street.

The plan was for the work at Seventh Street to be completed before the beginning of the school year, CDOT and Lawson said in an open house back in June.

City Manager Shane Hale said it was well known before the project started that Seventh Street was a mess, so there should not have been too many surprises when the project started.

Council member Karen Sheek wondered why it appears no one is actively working on the project, mentioning there have been numerous times when she observed no work being done.

The city council also discussed economic development incentives for businesses, including sales tax rebates.

What was discussed was giving businesses, whose sales have increased by at least 3 percent, a 12.5 percent rebate on the increase. If this plan had been in place in 2011 the cost to the city would have been almost $35,000.

Council discussed making the rebates 12.5 percent in year one, 6 percent in year two and 3 percent in year three if the 3 percent increase threshold is met.

Council member Matt Keefauver said this does not seem like a large amount of money, but added this could be the difference whether a small company survives or fails.

Council also discussed whether to provide data services to the sanitation district which recently severed ties with the city for $1,000 a month.

Council members discussed whether $1,000 a month was enough, and the consensus was any additional cost to the district could result in higher bills for customers.

Keefauver said he did not understand the split and wanted the public to know this was the sanitation district’s decision.

“It’s like a bad high school breakup when you are not really broken up,” he said, adding the people in these relationships really want it to be over in trying to create an analogy for the split between the city and the sanitation district.

The council also passed a resolution giving its support to the 3B bond residents will vote on in November to build a new high school.

michaelm@cortezjournal.com