An expired contract that went undetected will cost Clarkston some extra money to complete revisions to an intersection near Bridge, Second and Diagonal streets.
At Monday night’s Clarkston City Council meeting, Public Works Director Kevin Poole said the city is on the hook to pay back funding that was lost when its contract with project consultant Keller and Associates expired earlier this year. The error was not detected until late September.
The council voted 6-1 to move forward with the intersection revamp, although it could delay street improvements on Libby and Second streets for about five years. Councilor Belinda Larsen cast the lone no vote, but several other officials said they aren’t happy about the setback.
Because of the glitch, the city has to pay the state more than $103,000, but the Washington State Department of Transportation has agreed to cover half of that expense because the improvements involve a state highway that runs through Clarkston.
Poole said the city is facing a funding shortfall of nearly $762,000, but there is money available through the Transportation Benefit District and state Surface Transportation Program to help cover the gap. Other funding mechanisms could be available at the state and federal level, he said.
Construction of a roundabout near the Interstate Bridge is slated to begin in 2022. The project is a high priority for the city because of the number of accidents that occur at the busy intersection, officials said.
Right of way acquisition and higher construction costs could affect the final project cost, Poole said. To date, the city has spent about $140,000 on consulting fees, plus a federal match.
“If we walk away, we are not going to have this project built,” he said.
In Poole’s opinion, the intersection is not a high priority for the state, so the city has to take the lead, if it wants changes along the high-traffic route to popular shopping areas.
After the meeting, Mayor Monika Lawrence said the project will benefit residents and visitors, and the mistake was basically “a clerical error.” Lawrence said she supports moving forward with the intersection improvements.
Bill Preston, of the state transportation department, joined the Zoom meeting to say he also recommended moving forward. The agreement lapse was discovered a couple of weeks ago, Preston said, and although his agency didn’t do anything wrong, it is willing to participate by paying half of the penalty.
The city’s intent is to transfer ownership and maintenance duties to the state transportation department, once the roundabout is completed, Poole said.
In other city business, the council corrected some typographical errors by approving two amendments to previous resolutions. One of the amendments involves the annual emergency medical services levy.
The city is seeking a $788,167 levy to cover ambulance services at a cost to property owners of about $1.60 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. The title of the resolution had to be changed to make it correct so it could be listed on the Nov. 3 ballot, officials said.
Sandaine may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or (208) 848-2264. Follow her on Twitter @newsfromkerri.