LAKE CITY — With the city's financial portion of the U.S. Highway 61 reconstruction and realignment project coming in higher than expected, the Lake City City Council on Monday approved additional funds of $677,170.
City finance director Jerome Illg told the board that when bids came back in December, the city's share of the cost in the lone bid amounted to $4.1 million, about $700,000 higher than the original $3.4 million estimate. The city council, he noted, needed to approve additional funds from several city sources to cover the difference.
An additional $353,317 would come from the city's water fund. The sewer and storm sewer funds would pay an additional $50,633 and $63,043, respectively. More money would come from the capital projects budget, although nearly $18,000 in that budget meant to fund amenities along the road project will be cut.
Council nember Russell Boe noted that the amenities such a lighting and other lakefront beautification items were the only part of the bid that came in under budget.
"If we're going to spend money, I think the infrastructure is the way to go," Boe said.
Despite Monday's changes to the budget, city staff noted that there likely will be further changes as unexpected costs crop up, which is usual during a major road project.
Mayor Mark Nichols said by using reserves from several funds and getting this project done right, the council was leaving a good legacy of Highway 61 management to the next generation or two of Lake City residents.
The board unanimously approved the additional funding.
The council also discussed the the realignment of trailers at Marina Point. Because of changes to Ohuta Park, several trailer homes on the point will need to be moved to the interior of the triangular point of land. However, the council agreed Monday to have city staff come back at July's council meeting with options for where the homes will be moved.
The city has a current plan, said City Administrator Rob Keehn, but discussion among homeowners at Marina Point has brought up concerns. Furthermore, any changes to the current plans could require engineering work for utilities and soil testing.
"It's really about moving the utilities to those new locations," Nichols said.
Finally, the city is rethinking its decision to close its swimming pool for the summer.
Boe told the council that since the governor changed guidelines regarding COVID-19 to allow pools to open to 50 percent capacity, "I've never heard more comments than I did from Saturday to (Monday)," he said. "There's a lot of parents of small kids that would really love a pool this year."
That said, Keehn told the board there are several hurdles, including finding qualified lifeguards to hire so late in the season. At the least, it would take three to four weeks to get the pool open.
Meanwhile Council Member Amy Alkire noted that the beach at Hok Si La Park had about 150 people swimming there over the weekend. Alkire said rather than open a pool, the city might look to hiring lifeguards to watch the beach at the park.
Council Member Faye Brown said opening the pool for just two months is problematic, plus enforcing social distancing at the pool could be difficult. "I'd rather see us keep the pool closed and get the beach updated," she said.
Eventually, the council decided to look into what it might take to hire lifeguards before making any decisions.