Florida Keys News - Islamorada/KL Free Press
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
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Council to consider $8.5M villagewide repaving project

ISLAMORADA -- The Village Council is scheduled Thursday to discuss how to move forward with an estimated $8.5 million in road repaving to be done in the aftermath of sewer installation.

The town could either award the work to its sewer contractor, Reynolds Water Islamorada, as a change to their existing $91 million deal, or it could put the work out for competitive bid.

Thursday's discussion will come as the council reviews Reynolds' recently-completed $94,000 survey of the condition of the roads in middle and north Plantation Key. The company concluded that a majority of the roadways in north Plantation Key are in "serviceable but poor condition."

In middle Plantation Key, most of the roads are in good condition, the report states. However, the analysis there was hampered by active sewer construction.

At present, the contract between Islamorada and Reynolds calls only for the company to patch trench lines after sewers are installed. But it also includes a provisional $8.5 million allowance for full paving overlay.

Repaving wasn't formalized in the contract, village officials have said, because details couldn't be hammered out before an Aug. 31 signing deadline that Islamorada had to meet in order to receive a $20 million state grant.

One issue that slowed talks then, village wastewater manager Greg Tindle said Monday, was that the village wanted to see a road survey before accepting a price.

In a report to the council ahead of Thursday's meeting, Tindle wrote that preliminary pricing discussions with Reynolds in the aftermath of the study indicate that the price would be similar to the $8.5 million allowance.

"If the final number is in line with some of the numbers that they've been talking about previously, it could work," he told the Free Press Monday.

In a January debate, a divided council leaned 3-2 toward tasking Reynolds with the road overlay work. Councilwoman Deb Gillis, Councilman Dave Purdo and Vice Mayor Ted Blackburn supported that course of action. Mayor Ken Philipson and Councilman Mike Forster favored putting the work out for a competitive bid.

In interviews Monday, Purdo said he still wants to go with Reynolds.

"They're doing the work. They're here. They're onsite. I'm just all for it," he said.

Philipson, though, said he hasn't decided yet. First, he said, he wants to understand how the village can know the proper price at all unless the condition of all of Islamorada's roads, not just those on middle and north Plantation Key, are surveyed.

"Not that they can't do it, but it's puzzling how it could happen," he said.

Tindle said the results from Plantation Key would be extrapolated to determine the villagewide price.

If the council supports having Reynolds do the repaving on Thursday, the decision would have to be finalized at later meeting in the form of a formal contract change. Alternatively, the council could direct staff to develop a bid request for the work.

rsilk@keysnews.com

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