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Paving on hold again as ruling by AG awaited

An on-again, off-again downtown street paving project is offagain pending an attorney general’s ruling on whether it will haveto be rebid, Mayor Bob Massengill said Wednesday.

The mayor’s announcement came a day after aldermen voted toproceed with the project and, if needed, borrow against futurefederal dollars to pay for the work. The $697,146.34 bid was theonly one received, but was about 30 percent more than estimated,which prompted the board in December to reject the bid.

Massengill said a state auditor’s ruling declared that any timea bid is more than 10 percent more than available funds, theproject has to be rebid. He said he is seeking an attorneygeneral’s opinion that concurs with the decision.

The city has about $512,000 in accumulated federal funds, whichwill be matched by $112,000 in local funds, available for theproject. Aldermen awarded the contract Tuesday night withexpectations of using $110,000 in additional federal funds forfiscal year 2006 that will be released in October.

Massengill said the city may borrow against the October moneybut it cannot be counted as available funds. He said it waspremature for the city to act on the project Tuesday night.

In addition to the bid price, Massengill said the city has about$43,000 in engineering that must be paid.

“We’re well short of where we need to be,” Massengill said aboutavailable funds.

Officials hope to realize some savings related to base streetrepair costs. The contract sets aside 1,500 tons of material at$97.50 a ton, but Department Coordinator Jimmy Furlow believes thatamount may have been overestimated.

“I can’t see it is costing us that much and using that manytons,” Furlow said.

Officials said base repairs will have to be determined aftercrews start work and identify bad locations in the downtownarea.

Handicap accessibility aspects of the project were expected tostart in March. With temperature requirements, nighttime pavingwork was not anticipated to start until May.