PA street project will get done one way or another

Published 5:29 pm Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The West Rev. Dr. Ransom Howard Street, aka West Seventh Street, will get paved, but it wasn’t agreed on without some twists and turns at Tuesday morning’s regular meeting of the Port Arthur City Council.

The agenda resolution originally read for the council to reject bids for the street pavement rehabilitation project form MLK Drive to Abe Lincoln Avenue due to fund availability. In the end, the item was voted down, but not rejected so the city could go over bids again.

LD Construction of Beaumont was the lowest bid at $1,265,732. However, the Texas General Land Office funded the project with a budget of $730,000 and LD Construction exceeded the budget.

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Harold Doucet, District 4 city councilman, said he has a problem with funding street projects through grants with the GLO and with Community Development Block Grants.

“Districts 1 and 4 have the majority of streets that need repair and the bids always come in higher,” Doucet said. “We get one street fixed and we don’t have enough to fix the other one.

“We have $5 million funded for streets this year. Have we approved the streets that need to be fixed? No. The council approved fixing Seventh and Eighth Streets. We need to go back to the (city’s) Street Project to fix the streets if we’re only getting $700,000 from the GLO,” he said.

He added that Seventh Street is a major thoroughfare and 18-wheelers often travel down the street, wearing it down.

“We don’t want to cut corners,” Doucet said. “We only have one or two months left (until the end of the fiscal year) to put the money back in and fund the streets the way we should. Not just with grant money. I do not want to rebid when we have the money to fix them.”

He mentioned how Bluebonnet Avenue is a GLO project that hasn’t been fixed yet. Money was taken from the reserves to fund that project.

Armando Guiterrez, director of public works for the city, said crews will start work on Bluebonnet next week.

The council, though, was thrown a curveball.

Derek Graffagnino, with the engineering firm of Arceneaux, Wilson & Cole said another consideration for rejecting LD Construction in addition to financial considerations was the contractor was not qualified to do the job.

Doucet said staff needs to give another look at the city’s bid process.

City Attorney Val Tizeno explained how the bid process worked and told the council it was not appropriate for them to discuss the contractor’s qualifications for the vote on the resolution.

The council voted to remove the item from the agenda and go with the next bid.