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Poplar Street in Fenton, which connects Silver Lake and North roads, will be rehabilitated this summer.

Fenton — The city of Fenton has received funding through the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) to replace, realign and resurface Poplar Street from Silver Lake Road to North Road.

 At their meeting held Monday, June 12,

city council members voted to authorize City Manager Lynn Markland to sign contracts with the state of Michigan and passed a resolution, which is required by MDOT to move the project forward. In April, Department of Public Works (DPW) Director Dan Czarnecki said MDOT had been informed that federal funding was available to pay for the project. The funding would be available once the federal government approves its new appropriations bills.

 The resurfacing and realignment project is estimated to cost $646,000. The city is scheduled to receive $522,500 in federal transportation money through MDOT. The remainder of the costs will be the responsibility of the city of Fenton to pay, which will be approximately $124,100.

 The city had two options, the first being to wait until the federal appropriations bills are approved and MDOT goes out for bids. Or, the city could have MDOT get bids now with the city paying for all of the work, and be reimbursed later once federal funds are received.

 This option is called Advance Construct. According to the April 24, 2017 minutes of the Fenton City Council meeting, if the city should proceed with the Advance Construct option, the city will be required to pay for the entire project if federal funding does not become available.  

 Czarnecki expressed his concern in April that if the city waits until funds are available, an opportunity will be missed to complete the Poplar Street project during the 2017 construction season.

 According to the April 24 minutes, administration discussed this with the Genesee County Metropolitan Planning Commission (GCMPC) and OHM, the city’s engineering firm.

 Councilwoman Pat Lockwood, who said she has been on the GCMPC for a long time, said waiting for federal funding is not typical.

 A consensus of the City Council in April was to move forward with the project.

 Although Markland referenced the April 24, 2017 council meeting minutes in his memo for the June 12 meeting, there was no discussion among council members about the two separate options — to wait or proceed.

 During public comment, when asked, Markland acknowledged that the federal appropriations bills have not yet been approved, and that the city could be on the hook for the money if federal funds do not come through. He expressed his confidence that the money would be available and that the project would proceed.

 The city’s engineering firm has prepared a scope of services for the project. Their design services cost $71,000, with another $6,500 to perform the signal study work to create a model to provide for the proper timing of signals at Poplar Street and North Road.

 On Monday, Czarnecki said Champagne & Marx Excavating, Inc., the low bidder made it possible to shave about $80,000 off the total cost.

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