By Bob Balgemann


BELVIDERE – The city’s downtown streetscape project won’t continue this year, because the only bid received to do the work was well over the amount set aside in the current budget.

And so the committee of the whole’s recommendation to reject the bid was approved by the city council at its Aug. 3 meeting. Both votes were unanimous.

Public Works Director Brent Anderson explained he sent information to eight contractors, with four taking out bid packets. But only one turned in a quote.

The bid from Stenstrom Excavation and Blacktop Group in Rockford was for $736,662.65. The engineering estimate was $621,000, with the city budgeting $700,000 for the work.

Anderson’s plan is to solicit bids early in the 2016 construction season, when he hopes there will be more interest in the project.

With some tweaking, he’s hoping to reduce the cost of the work to $660,000. “I should know that by fall,” he said.

This is a continuation of the work that last summer brought improvements to the stretch of State Street from the railroad tracks to Madison Street.

There were questions from some members of the committee of the whole at their July 27 meeting.

Alderman Dan Snow wondered about the area in which bids were sought, if it was just greater Rockford or if it was also included the Chicago suburbs? Anderson also was asked if he had an idea of why just one bid was received.

He said the suburbs would be covered. And as for so few bids, he said it probably was the workload contractors already had undertaken for the summer season.

New squad car

City council approved Police Chief Jan Noble’s request to purchase a new squad car for a price not to exceed $25,100.

After some discussion, it was agreed money would come from the city’s capital replacement fund, not the DUI equipment fund as originally thought.

The squad car in question is a 2008 Dodge Charger with 94,000 miles on it. It has a warped engine block and the cost estimate to repair it is $3,800. The car is not drivable, the chief said, adding that it should be parked and sold at public auction or through E-Bay.

He explained that state law requires someone convicted of DUI for the first time pay $750 to a DUI Equipment Fund. For all second and subsequent convictions, the fee is $1,000.

Belvidere currently has $82,195.08 in its DUI fund, the chief reported.

But at the committee meeting he said it had been learned the city had enough money in its capital replacement fund with which to buy the squad car. Budget Director Becky Tobin said there was $135,000 in that fund, with which to purchase new squad cars.

Chief Noble suggested, and both the committee and council agreed, not to dip into the court-awarded DUI fund at this time.

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