UPDATE 2/15/2019: Find the breakdown for the final proposed cost of $5,200,890.50 for the Spruce/Fifth and Maple/Bolivar projects. About 10% of the 2016 bond issue. The full agenda can be found here. Agenda for February 18, 2019
February 5, 2019
Dear Mayor and Members of City Council,
It is important that you understand not only the financial damage that the proposed Spruce/Fifth St project as designed will inflict on our local businesses, but also the added cost to Bellaire taxpayers.
As predicted, there’s no way to compute the entire additional cost of the proposed 3 blocks of ‘streetscape’ for what should be a basic street and drainage project on Spruce and Fifth in the area around H-E-B. The extras may well exceed a million dollars – who can tell? What can be compared are the estimated costs for just the Landscaping and Irrigation Items, with estimates ranging from $97,000 to $637,341.
Please view the spreadsheet (at left) listing the totals for each bid and the separate estimates for Landscaping and Irrigation for Spruce and Fifth. The six (6) estimates are available at the end of this letter.
Our Public Works director stated the extra cost for the ‘streetscape’ would be $195,000. However, just the Landscape/Irrigation cost estimates range from $97,000 to over $600,000. That cost does not include the extra layouts for tree wells, planters and plantings, angled public parking slots, fancy streetlights, and 7 foot wide sidewalks – all on the public right-of-way and consuming 34 feet of the street. Other than streetlight pole foundations I cannot find bids for electrical work or the fancy streetlights. If that is included please tell us how to find those figures.
Extra costs are buried in the various sections of the construction bids. In addition there will be a 4th contract for construction management for this project and the Maple/Bolivar project.
The bid totals for 4500 Maple and 500 Bolivar are also listed. If necessary you can get the complete bids for any project from Public Works via a Request for Public Information.
The Spruce/Fifth project is wrong on so many levels. Harms the businesses, generates traffic problems and congestion, creates high maintenance areas, quite likely endangers drivers and passengers (neither backing out nor pulling out next to a 20 foot long truck into a narrow lane of traffic feels safe to me).
I have had the good fortune to visit and correspond with hundreds of Bellaire residents in the past several months, and heard common themes expressed. Residents do not think well of the city manager, they do not feel this council is doing a good job of handling their money, and they do not trust the City Council to make wise decisions. Many are still recovering from the flood, all are concerned about the debt and higher taxes.
After I and numerous other residents voiced concerns about this situation by email and at City council meetings, to no avail, it seemed my last recourse was to publish this open letter.
This is the wrong plan, in the wrong place, at the wrong time. Plans can be revised, and a request for new bids for street and drainage only can be advertised for Spruce and Fifth. It’s the right thing to do and you, our City Council, have the power to bring that about.
A note to Bellaire Residents – please read the next article on this website and support our local businesses. Email the mayor and city council via firstname.lastname@example.org. Ask Tracy to forward your email to them. Thank you.
Bellaire’s Bonded Debt will be $129 million by the end of FY2019
A $47 million dollar bond issue is under discussion for this November