The Brenham City Council moved forward in the process of securing state funding for several projects at the Brenham Municipal Airport at its meeting Thursday.
The council approved resolutions in connection with grant agreements for an airport master plan and airfield lighting project at the airport. The resolutions are the first step in getting the projects included on the Texas Transportation Commission’s agenda for October 28th in order to dedicate funding for them in TxDOT’s 2022 Fiscal Year budget.
City of Brenham Planning Technician Kim Hodde said it has been several years since the airport’s master plan was last updated.
The master plan is developed and used as a long-range planning tool to help regulate development, improvements and operation of the airport to meet current and future demands. The estimated cost of the master plan project is $250,000, with the city being responsible for 10 percent of total project costs. However, the local match of $25,000 will be funded using American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) federal funds, so the city’s current estimated cost is $0.
The airfield lighting project will include replacing the Medium Intensity Runway Lights (MIRL’s), beacon, wind cone, airfield signage and regulator/radio control panel. Estimated design and construction costs are $800,000, and the city will be responsible for 10 percent of total costs. ARPA is expected to cover the $10,000 in design costs, so the city would only be responsible for the remaining $70,000.
Once the Transportation Commission grants approval of the projects, a grant agreement will be sent to the city for execution.
The council also approved an amendment to the construction agreement between the city and Techline Construction, Inc. for the copper conductor replacement and power line rehabilitation project. The project is to replace copper conductor, perform rehabilitation and replace substandard polies and hardware as designed by McCord Engineering.
Techline was awarded the project in January 2019 for no more than $1,006,910, but Public Utilities Director Alton Sommerfield said staff realized in August 2021 that the city would reach the contract amount prior to completing the project, so the city stopped work to evaluate the project status.
Sommerfield said several factors have led to an increase in the overall cost of the project, including incorrect unit amount, unknown conflicts with underground utilities, changes requested by city staff and hourly charges for conflicts in schedule and overtime outages. The revised project cost is $1,147,259, with $102,161 in current outstanding invoices and an estimated $65,000 to complete the project. Sommerfield said the $65,000 only represents labor costs, as all materials for the project have been purchased.
Assistant City Manager of Public Services and Utilities Donald Reese said the engineering for this project began in 2017, and since that time alterations have occurred with the project that did not have formal change orders attached to them. He said this situation is a combination of both city staff and the contractor not following written contract procedures. He noted that the project is bond-funded, and the contingency from the bond fund is sufficient to pay for the additional work.
Also at Thursday’s meeting, the council:
- Proclaimed October 3-9 as Fire Prevention Week. Fire Marshal Roger Williams said the “Bucket Brigade” program will return to local elementary schools this fall to teach students about fire prevention and safety.
- Proclaimed September 17-21 as Constitution Week.
- Proclaimed September 16-October 31 as the official period for Washington County READ.
- Proclaimed September as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
- Issued notice of intent to issue Series 2021 certificates of obligation for no more than $10 million, including bond issuance costs. The certificates of obligation for the 2021-22 Fiscal Year budget cover general government, wastewater and water system utility projects. The general government projects total $4.25 million and include $84,500 for fire apparatus, $350,000 for improvements to city hall, $744,000 for street equipment, $619,000 for in-house street reconstruction/rebuild and $1.7 million for contractor street and drainage improvements. Wastewater utility improvements of $2.24 million include two new lift stations and sewer force main improvements. The $3 million in water utility improvements are for the Lake Somerville intake structure. City staff will handle securing the pricing for the certificates of obligation and bring the item back to the council for action on December 2nd.
- Approved ordinances on their second reading adopting the budget for the new fiscal year and levying property taxes at $0.4940 per $100 valuation.
- Approved a resolution TxDOT’s Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) comprehensive grant for traffic enforcement October 1st through September 30, 2022. Brenham Police Captain Dant Lange said the total grant is for $15,039; approximately 80 percent of that amount is provided through TxDOT, while 20 percent is matched by the City of Brenham.
- Revised an interlocal agreement between the city and Washington County for the provision of subdivision regulations by the city within the extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ) of the municipality. Now-former City Manager James Fisher explained that since the agreement was formed, changes to annexation laws make it “extremely difficult” to annex property outside of the city limits unless asked to by the property owner. The revision provides notice that the current agreement, which expires in April 2022, will not be renewed. The city will work with the county to draft a new interlocal agreement to regulate development in the ETJ.
- Issued requests for proposals (RFPs) for professional administrative services and requests for qualifications for engineering, architectural, surveying or other services related to ARPA. Chief Financial Officer Carolyn Miller said the city has received the first ARPA allocation of over $2.2 million, and seeks to engage a grant administrator to assist with the various complexities and reporting guidelines for grant requirements.