De Soto action awaits council
$2 million federal earmark on the line
Lansing City Council members have some weighty decisions to make regarding the future of De Soto Road.
At their meeting tonight, Dec. 21, the council will be asked whether it wants to pursue plans to widen at least a portion of the road or forfeit $2 million in federal funds earmarked to assist with improvements on De Soto Road.
"The clock is ticking," said John Young, the city's Public Works director. "If we want to be guaranteed the $2 million, we have got to get started on the design."
In 2005, U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., inserted a congressional earmark of $2 million for De Soto Road into the federal transportation bill. The money was to help the city widen De Soto, from Eisenhower Road to 4-H Road, to three lanes with a center turn lane.
Though there is no expiration on the use of earmarked funds, Young said, the current federal transportation bill would expire in 2009 and there was no guarantee the city could get money after that time. To get all of the clearances to let bids by 2009, he said, design work must begin next month.
Young said the limited federal funds and high cost of the project - estimated at $12.9 million - caused Mayor Kenneth Bernard to ask staff to consider shortening the project to a segment that would replace the bridge on De Soto over Seven-Mile Creek.
Young said federal requirements demand road projects begin and end at "logical points," so the city determined the minimum segment it could improve under the federal rules to include the bridge would be from West Mary Street to Ida Street. Its estimated price tag would be $6.5 million, including construction, right of way purchases, utility relocation and engineering costs. The city would be responsible for an estimated $4.05 million of the total, and with $2 million coming from the federal government, Leavenworth County would pick up the balance.
"This section of De Soto Road currently has the highest traffic volume, and due to the bridge and steep hill, is the most substandard," Young wrote in a memo to City Administrator Mike Smith. "As such, improvement of this section will have greater traffic safety and traffic flow benefits than any other section of De Soto."
During their meeting at 7 tonight at City Hall, 800 First Terrace, council members will have to make several decisions about the project, Young said.
¢ Whether, in light of the required local expenditures, the council wishes to pursue the project or forfeit the earmark.
¢ Whether the West Mary-to-Ida section is the portion of the road the council wants to pursue.
If the council agrees to pursue the project, it will be asked to adopt a resolution and authorize the mayor to sign an agreement with the Kansas Department of Transportation to go ahead with the project.
Then, Young said, the council will have to decide whether to begin design of the project immediately or risk losing the authority to spend the earmarked funds. Professional Engineering Consultants of Topeka has submitted a proposal to provide engineering and design for the West Mary-to-Ida segment for $346,400, or about 7 percent of the estimated cost of construction.
Here's tonight's agenda:
¢ Consider minutes from the council's Nov. 16 regular meeting and its Nov. 30 special meeting.
¢ Certificate of appreciation presentation to Kristyn Russell, a Lansing High School student who assisted with the Mayor's Christmas Tree program.
¢ Presentation by Ken Miller, the city's Main Street project liaison, on the Main Street System Enhancement project.
¢ Consider a request for a special use permit for 1536 Southern Hills Terrace. The permit would allow resident Kristina Pilloni to continue offering foster services for dogs and cats.
¢ Consider the reappointments of Tim King, Richard O'Donnell, Bryan Pettis, Richard Pitts and John Warner to the Parks and Recreation Board for terms expiring Dec. 31, 2008.
¢ Consider the reappointment of John Bennett and Dale Bohannon to the Tree Board for terms expiring Dec. 31, 2009.
¢ Consider issuing a cereal malt beverage license to TFT LLC, doing business as Daniel's Bar-B-Q.
¢ Consider issuing a cereal malt beverage license to Petro Deli No. 2.
¢ Consider issuing a cereal malt beverage license to WKRP Management LLC - Pizza Hut.
¢ Consider issuing a cereal malt beverage license to Charles R. Wood Oil Co. Inc.
¢ Consider a resolution establishing signatories for the city's accounts and investments at Commerce Bank.
¢ Conduct a hearing for proposed amendments to the city's 2006 budget. The amended budget requires no additional property taxes and largely contains intrafund transfers, according to a memo from finance director William Lundberg.
¢ Consider adopting the proposed amended 2006 city budget.
¢ Consider a contract for professional services with Design Energy Group. The group would perform on-site inspection and engineering services on the school bond issue projects for the city at a cost of $75,000 plus expenses. The contract price would be paid for by permit fees.
¢ Consider an addition to the Lansing Technical Specifications and Design Criteria for Public Improvements. The addition would prohibit new, potentially hazardous fixed objects, such as masonry planters and entrance headwalls, from being located too close to the edge of collector and arterial streets.
¢ Consider a resolution pertaining to proposed improvements on De Soto Road.
¢ Hear reports from city staff members, council members and the mayor.