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Price has gone up for city of Farmington seal coating projects

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Price has gone up for city of Farmington seal coating projects
Farmington Minnesota P.O. Box 192 / 312 Oak St. 55024

City of Farmington engineer Kevin Schorzman knew taking a year off from the city's seal coating program meant it would cost more to start it up again in the future. Now, he and the Farmington City Council know just how much that will be.

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Dropping the city's annual seal coating for 2011 means the city of Farmington will pay $19,000 more for the same work it would have done a year ago.

That didn't surprise Schorzman. But, as he pointed out, there was no money to spend on seal coating last year, so it was good to take that year off.

Taking a year off also means Schorzman has a point of comparison on the work that will be done this year. And, it allowed him to see whether the system he was using to estimate increases in the cost from year to year was accurate.

Past actions

Two years ago, the Farmington City Council learned that the city's road and bridge fund was rapidly depleting. The fund had been used, along with assessments to the properties in the affected neighborhoods, to pay for the annual seal coating project.

Council was presented with a couple of options to continue the project - they could raise the tax levy to create new money and allocate those funds specifically to seal coating, or they could implement franchise fees. Instead of implementing either option in 2011, council members chose to put the seal coating on hold for a year.

When the 2012 budget was approved, it was set up to include a $350,000 tax levy increase to create new money in the budget to carry on the annual seal coating. That should be enough to cover the project for a couple of years.

Estimates

Back in 2010, Schorzman had already received a bid for the seal coating work that was slated to be done in 2011. At the time, the project was estimated to cost $304,131. With the same roads still needing attention this year, he bid the same project he had two years ago. This time, the bids came in at $323,383. That means it will cost Farmington $19,252 more to do the same work this year that it would have done last year.

While that is disappointing, Schorzman also sees it as a silver lining, because now he has a real year-to-year comparison he can use to estimate how much the project will cost in the future.

And, since the budget allocates $350,000 to seal coating and the bid is $323,131, that will leave the city with $26,616 to roll over into next year.

"These are actual numbers. For 2012, this tells me my estimation is fairly reliable," Schorzman said.

The excess will be left in the seal coating fund to accumulate with any excess in the future. That way, the city can continue to budget $350,000 annually and not increase the levy amount for that fund.

"After the first seven-year cycle, we're going to have to bump it up because we'll have new roads to add into the mix," Schorzman said. "For now I think we're okay. I'll keep tracking it and see what happens."

Schorzman is working on updating the city's seal coating plan and will bring it to the council later this spring.

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Michelle Leonard
Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and is the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 
(651) 702-0974
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