Per-yard cost for chip sealing has doubled in 5 years, city approves using up to 300,000 sq. yds. at $1.15 per yard
By ROBERT PIERCE
• Daily Leader
On March 4, city staff opened bids for its annual chip seal project. A lone bid was received from B and H Paving of Scott City, who has done the project for the last 15 years.
Tuesday, city commissioners approved the bid at a unit price of $1.15 per square yard. Public works director Joe Sealey said the price was bid per unit to allow adjustments as needed.
That bid covers about 250,000 square yards, and the price of the project has jumped significantly in recent years.
“In ’05, it was 57.1 cents,” Sealey said. “In ’06, it was .74. In ’08, I think was .83. Last year, it was $1.11.”
In the final motion, commissioners voted to include an
additional 50,000 square yards identified as needing a chip seal at an additional cost of $57,500. Sealey said this exceeds his department’s budget authority.
“If the commission would consider adding that additional 50,000 square yards, we will exceed our budgeted amount by $77,500 if we do all of it,” he said.
That square yardage is on Western Avenue from 15th Street going north to Tucker Road and on Tucker Road from Kansas Avenue going east.
Sealey said commissioner Bob Carlile recommended adding those projects. Commissioner Dave Harrison inquired as to the reason they were added.
“We need to have a way to rationalize when we do this stuff and why we do it,” Harrison said. “My concern is back when we were talking about Western, from 15th north, it’s in good shape. There’s a whole lot of other streets we need to take a look at. We’re probably not doing quite enough. At the same time, we need to talk about these things at budget time.”
The money for the chip sealing would come from the city’s special highway fund, according to city manager Mark Hall.
“It could cover the costs as presented before you, but if the commission would like for us to address 15th Street and look at the others next year,” Hall said.
Vice mayor Tim Long asked why the price of the annual project continues to climb.
“In ’08, oil was $140 a barrel,” he said. “Today, it’s $80. I would think we should be going back the other direction.”
“What you don’t understand is a month and a half ago, our 6422 oil was $350 a ton,” Carlile said. “It’s $500 now, getting ready to go to $550 in a week.”
Long asked why that price continues to rise.
“You need to ask the refineries because I can’t tell you,” Carlile said.
Harrison also said the cost of chip sealing increased due to the price of oil
“It’s convenient when the price of oil’s going up that we can blame it on the price of oil, but when oil goes back down in half, there’s no difference,” he said.
Hall said in discussions with officials from B and H, there was mention that demand has increased.
“That is the heart of the equation,” Hall said. “They’ve seen other cities increase. What a lot of the cities are going through and what B and H thought is because of the situation with streets and the situation of KDOT, cities are looking at doing more of this, which gets into supply and demand. That has changed some of the equation.”
Carlile said for years, the Kansas Department of Transportation did mill and overlay work but did very little in the way of chip sealing.
“The last couple years, they have cut back, and they are doing tons of sealing to help with those because they don’t have the money to mill and overlay,” he said. “There’s a big demand for that kind of oil.”
Sealey said B and H does much in the way of chip sealing in much of the area.
“They do all the counties,” he said. “They do all of Beaver County’s. They do all the Texas County roads. They do the city of Beaver, Scott City, Garden City, all these small towns, Sublette, Satanta. They do just about everything.”
The commission voted 4-0 with Carlile abstaining to approve the request of $1.15 per square yard with the additional 50,000 square yards included.