The project includes improvements including 4 lanes with sidewalks and ramps for pedestrians, right-of-way acquisition, and water and sewer line replacement at a total cost of $5,690,580 as estimated by TxDOT.
According to the council briefing sheet, an agreement with TxDOT concerning the funding of the project states that the City of Brownwood will contract for the replacement of the water line, pay for the water line replacement, and be reimbursed by the State as construction of the water line progresses. Approximately 25 percent of the water line reimbursement will be retained by the State until the total project is completed.
Estimated cost of the water line is $641,925. The sewer line will be replaced by TxDOT's contractor as a portion of the total project at an estimated cost of $612,800.
The City of Brownwood is also responsible for 10 percent (estimated $135,217) of the utility adjustments (water & sewer costs) and right-of-way acquisitions necessary to construct the project. These funds are required in advance according to the TxDOT agreement with the city.
Funding the city's portion of the project will come from the Street Certificates of Obligation according to City Manager Bobby Rountree. City Finance Director Walter Middleton explained that these funds will not affect the city's fiscal budget; however, the 25 percent of reimbursement held by the State will be tied up for a while until the project is complete. Brownwood Mayor Stephen Haynes questioned if the Street COs could be used for a water and sewer line project.
"This is coming out of our bond funds and does not affect our cash reserves. Cash held back (the 25 percent of the State reimbursement) until complete project is done is done on bond funds," explained Middleton. As a component of part of a street project, we can use the COs."
City Councilman Jerry DeHay expressed his concern of the project causing problems to the surrounding neighborhood and his belief that the project is not necessary and puts the road too close to residences.
"They maybe have gone a little beyond improvement, it's a little bit of an overkill," said DeHay who also explained his worry about traffic traveling too fast on this portion of Austin Avenue creating possible traffic hazards or accidents.
Mayor Haynes stated that he understood the frustration for residents near the project, stating that the sidewalk project on Austin Avenue affected his own residence; however, in the end resulted in cleaning up the area.
The resolution passed with notation of DeHay's objection being voiced.
Division Director for Public Works / City of Brownwood Engineer Don Hatcher stated in a recent email that Jason Scantling of TxDOT said that the roadway portion of the project will be awarded in April of 2013 with construction to begin by mid July of 2013.
The City of Brownwood will award a contract in February of 2012 to replace the waterline. It is estimated that the entire project will be completed by June of 2015.