On Tuesday night, Cassville aldermen approved a $535,395.28 bid from Hutchens Construction to complete the First Street improvement project even though the bid price was well above the engineer's estimate to complete the project.
Hutchens was the project's low bidder on a project that engineer Roger Berg, of Scott Engineering, estimated would cost around $400,000. C-2 Projects of Nixa was the only other contractor to bid on the project and their proposed price was double the engineer's estimate at $828,765.
"The bid came in approximately $95,000 higher than where we needed it to be to stay within our budget," said City Administrator Mike Hayslip.
During previous discussions, the council had agreed that $500,000 was the most the city could afford to spend on the project.
Since last Thursday when the bids were opened, Hayslip and City Finance Officer Darelyn Cooper reviewed the city's budget and found certain capital improvement projects included in this year's budget that will not be completed until next year.
"We have several projects, by necessity, that are going to be moved to the subsequent year," said Cooper. "By example, we budgeted $58,000 for the bridge on Partridge Drive that won't happen this year."
According to Hayslip, the city can absorb the increased cost of the First Street project without affecting the city's cash reserve.
"As far as the additional monies we need, we're in good shape," said Hayslip. "This additional cost will have zero impact on our budget."
Cooper said she will be presenting the aldermen with a budget adjustment at the next council meeting to reflect the changes.
Alderman Pete Landstad said he was not happy with the escalating cost of the project, but he believed the city was already committed to completing the street improvements.
"The fact is we started the project four months ago and we have to do something with the street," said Landstad.
Alderman Terry Heinz echoed Landstad's sentiments.
"Once you add engineering fees and the cost of work Jeff (Stockton) and his guys have done this is a $600,000 or more project," said Heinz. "People will soon forget about the costs when they're enjoying the new road."
After more discussion, the council voted unanimously to accept Hutchens' bid. Work on the street improvements should begin in a month's time with a completion date of Nov. 15.
When finished, First Street will be a uniform 30-foot width roadway with curb and guttering and a new asphalt overlay from Main Street to Highway 37.
In other business, the council:
* Paid bills totalling $20,156.68.
* Reviewed and discussed options for utilizing a credit card clearing company and voted to accept the services of Paymentech in connection with the new credit card reading machine at the Cassville Municipal Airport. The service will cost the city 1.67 percent per transaction or approximately 10 cents on a $200 purchase of airplane fuel.
* Approved an ordinance establishing a new procedure to disclose potential conflicts and substantial interests for certain municipal officials.