Surplus funds could speed commercial lot availability
By Sarah Pridgeon
As the bids were opened for construction of the Croell Redi-Mix headquarters at a special meeting of the city council on Monday, Roger Croell revealed that the project is significantly under budget. The excess funds may be directed to the industrial park phase of the project, said Ken Rathbun of Bearlodge Engineering.
Four bids were received for infrastructure construction, which will include streets, water and sewer. The lowest bid was from Powder River Construction of Gillette at $882,414.91.
According to Rathbun, the numbers checked out, no math errors or abnormalities were found and the company is qualified with a track record, so there was “no reason to do other than recommend” going with the lowest bid.
“It took some gnashing of teeth to get to this point, but here we are,” said Rathbun.
The highest bid, which came in at over $1 million, had already been sent back to Western Municipal Construction, but the lowest three will be retained in case “on the eleventh hour” Powder River Construction is unable to procure a bond or hits an insurmountable problem.
The council moved to approve Powder River Construction’s bid and authorized Mayor Paul Brooks to sign all relevant documents. Before the agenda item was closed, Rathbun asked for the council’s guidance on utilizing the excess money in the budget, which is thought to total almost $450,000.
“We’re significantly under budget on it and I know that Wyoming Business Council does not want the money back, they want cities and towns to spend that money to build business, create jobs and so forth,” he explained.
The second phase of the project is intended to create around 20 commercial lots along either side of a road that will be built to run parallel to Hwy 585. The lots will then be sold to businesses to encourage an industrial park to grow on the outskirts of Sundance.
Rathbun suggested contacting WBC to investigate the conditions under which the money can continue to be spent. The excess funds may cover the remaining water and the sewer lines for the planned industrial lots, but is unlikely to extend to the road paving.
A grant is currently on the table that could complete the necessary funding, said Rathbun, suggesting that feedback be sought on how and when to apply for it. The council was amenable to this proposal, though Council Member April Gill requested that the money not be spent until it is confirmed to be surplus.