Humboldt eyes streets



November 10, 2015 - 12:00 AM

HUMBOLDT — City administrator Cole Herder laid the groundwork Monday evening for an extensive street rehabilitation project intended to renew the nearly 25 miles of increasingly cracked, pot holed, patched, rutted and raveling roads that crisscross Humboldt.
Armed with power point slides and a 24-page packet of stats and careful analysis, Herder walked council members through the benefits and challenges, as well as the costs, of fixing Humboldt’s roads, which Herder calls some of the worst in the area.
Since 2012, the only street maintenance in town has been the application of cold patch material, which is intended as a temporary fix but on which Humboldt, in 2015 alone, spent nearly $26,000 (for 265 tons of the stuff).
According to Herder, the City’s consolidated street and highway fund — which receives approximately $50,000 per year from the state — currently has roughly $40,000 in available funds.
Herder’s point, however, was that the limited funding does not foreclose the option of improving Humboldt’s streets if the city pursues a smart “low cost reconstruction and maintenance solution.” While the price on a complete reconstruction of the roadbed is prohibitive (Herder’s projection: $20 million), the administrator suggested that the city “implement a program to reclaim, rebuild and apply a chip and seal surface, using city employees.”
Lacking the funds to purchase the equipment necessary for the project, Herder presented the council with the option to rent or lease the equipment at a fair rate, reserving the option to buy if the terms prove favorable down the line.
The council approved the broad outline of Herder’s proposal and authorized him to pursue details of the plan, subjecting specific decisions on the purchase of equipment to further council approval.
The council on Monday also agreed to schedule a public hearing at 7 p.m. Dec. 14, to revive the neighborhood revitalization program, which provides property tax refunds for business or home owners who spend more than $5,000 to build or upgrade their facilities.  The boundaries of the program — a point of some uncertainty in the previous council meeting — will include 100 percent of the city.
The group also approved a bid of approximately $40,000 from Torrey Brothers Construction in Wamego for the painting and repair of the municipal swimming pool.
Finally, the council approved Ray Salzwedel as the head of the Humboldt Housing Authority.

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