Lyndon’s Jones Park pathway heads toward October completion

Lyndon’s Jones Park should have a new concrete trail by the end of October after the Lyndon City Council approved one of three bids submitted for the project Monday night.

City staff and engineers assisting with the project opened bids last week from three companies. Dayhoff Underground bid $183,505.70; Criqui Construction bid $238,034.50; and Burlington Construction bid $183,857.50.

Noting all of the bids were more than the engineer’s estimate of $181,750, the council considered how to pare the project to fit available funds. Most of the project is to be funded with grants from W.S. & E.C. Jones Testamentary Trust and the Sunflower Foundation, with the city responsible for about a 20-percent match, either with funds or in-kind labor.

Lyndon City Administrator Kim Newman said one reason the bids came in higher than estimated was because the project is not engineered. She explained that to save costs, the bid specifications called only for the cost of materials and construction of 4,100 feet of trail. The contractor is to build the path to fit the site.

“To save money on this project, we’re not doing the fancy engineer work that we’d ordinarily have done,” Newman said.

Newman said slope and soil conditions at the site presented unknown factors contractors had to consider while developing their bids, likely leading to the higher than expected bids.

As planned, the trail would be a large loop roughly following the perimeter of Jones Park, with a path across the middle of the loop.

Newman told the council an option for reducing the cost would be to eliminate construction of the cross path, but that would leave trail users no choice of taking a shorter path. She said the cross path was included in original plans as a way to make the path suitable for users of all fitness levels, in that they could choose a route according to the distance they wished to travel. Without the cross path, users would need to walk the entire loop or go for a shorter distance and then return on the same route.

Council members agreed the cross path should be included to accommodate all users.

“We can still build additional trails through the center of it, but they don’t have to be concrete,” Newman said.

The council also discussed an alternate project included in the bid specifications, a concrete surface for an outdoor classroom that will be part of the project. Westar Energy has offered to construct the outdoor classroom, with the city to build its flooring during the path’s construction. Noting the bids already exceeded the available funds, the council agreed to drop the alternate project and use a surface less expensive than concrete, such as gravel.

Lyndon City Council Member Chris Cole asked whether the city could make another request from Jones Trust for the funds necessary to complete the project in two phases.

Newman said she had other ideas she would like to pursue at Jones Park and would like to defer another funding request for the trail project at this time.

On a motion from Lyndon City Council Member Doug Watson, the council approved authorizing the mayor to sign a notice of award for Dayhoff Underground. The project is to be completed by Oct. 21.

In other business, the council heard a report of the audit of last year’s finances from Harold Mayes, of Agler and Gaeddert. Mayes said there were differences in the report than that received in prior years from the city’s former auditor. Last year’s was the first audit of the city by Agler and Gaeddert. Mayes said a new audit format was now required, which resulted in some different data reported.

Mayes said although the audit turned up no major problems, there were problems.

“You did have some budget violations,” Mayes said. “Some funds did exceed their budget authority.”

He said although some of the funds accounts exceeded the budget, the total budget was not exceeded. Those account variances could have been averted by transferring funds between accounts, he said.

“There’s no reason you can’t amend the budget until the last day,” Mayes said.

For certain funds, “you were able to make some transfers that would have allowed you to increase your expenditures higher than budgeted,” he said.

Overall, the city’s funds were under budget by about $16,000, he reported. He said additional revenue came from sales tax collections, with $155,000 collected and only $141,000 budgeted. The street and alley fund was under budget by about $12,000.

A discrepancy of $12,000 was also found between 2011 ending numbers and 2012 starting numbers, and Newman said that finding “was the only variance that gave me any pause.”

Newman later explained that “the new auditor was unable to match” the 2011 and 2012 audits.

Mayes also reported the city had some funds that should not have had any carryover amount but did, and the city should adjust those budget amounts in the next budget.

Newman said city staff worked well with the new auditing firm and she was happy with the audit findings.

“Our bottom line … the starting line for 2013 is exactly where we budgeted,” she said. “I’m pleased. There was nothing in here that was surprising to me.”

In other business, the council: approved a cereal malt beverage license for Dollar General; heard from Peggy Clark of Historic Preservation Partners of Lyndon that the city had accepted an award for the renovation of the Bailey House; approved the mayor’s appointment of Deanna Romine to the Lyndon Recreation Commission and Charna Williams to the city’s planning and zoning board; heard plans were under way for a city fall festival.

Revised 8:26 p.m. June 21, 2013, to correct original engineer’s estimate on the Jones Park Trail; add Sunflower Foundation as grant donor; and clarify $12,000 discrepancy between 2011 audit and 2012 audit.

Contact us: Osage County News | P.O. Box 62, Lyndon, KS 66451 | [email protected] | 785-828-4994 | Powered by Osage County, Kansas