Sherman awards Abbott Drive road work contract to NE Asphalt

by Rodney Schroeter
of The Review staff

SHERMAN — The Town Board voted unanimously at its February meeting to contract with Northeast Asphalt, Inc., to repave Abbott Drive.

Three bids had been submitted to the town for the project, and were opened the previous week. One was found not to have a required element of the bid process, and was not further considered.

In the week following the bid opening, Mitchell Leisses, project manager for Kunkel Engineering Group, reviewed the two bids. On the evening of Tuesday, Feb. 7, Leisses recommended that the board accept the lower of the two eligible bids, which was $1,386,779.40 from Northeast Asphalt of Green Bay.

There was another, separate part of the bid, for the purpose of installing flashing lights on the stop signs at the intersection of County I and Abbott Drive. The town decided not to award that part of the bid at this time, but will pursue the issue with the Sheboygan County Transportation Department, because the department controls that intersection.

Leisses was asked a number of questions. Town Chairman William Goehring said he hoped that work on Abbott Drive would not be done at the same time State 144 is worked on. Eric Letter, project manager at Northeast, was present at the meeting. Letter said his company would bid on the State 144 project. While he made no commitment to any scheduling, other than stating a preference to work on Abbott Drive in July and that it should take about four weeks, Letter said it would be desirable (if Northeast were awarded the contract for State 144) to do the two projects back to back.

Supervisor Kris Klein said Northeast had repaved the eastern-most mile of Abbott Drive, from State 57 to Allen Road. “The road turned out great,” Klein said to Letter. Klein said his only complaint was a lack of communication in the last two weeks of that project. Klein said phone calls the town made were not returned by Northeast. “We almost missed our TRIP [Town Road Improvement Program] funding, because our center line wasn’t put on,” Klein said.

“That won’t be the case on this project,” Leisses assured the board. He explained the supervisory role Kunkel Engineering would have in the project. At a prior meeting, Leisses had told the board that Kunkel representatives would supervise every aspect of the winning bidder’s work on the project. Leisses had said he himself would be present for certain parts of the job.

Replying to a question from Goehring, Leisses said he would be the go-to person for the project, taking calls not only from board members, but from every property owner on Abbott Drive.

Goehring asked Leisses if he’d worked much with Letter and Northeast before. “Yes, absolutely,” Leisses answered.

“We’ll definitely have a lot better communication,” Letter told the board, regarding Klein’s concerns.

Leisses said he’d like to plan a public information meeting at the end of March or early April. Those living on Abbott Drive and other interested residents can learn about the scheduling of the project (which should be more firmed up by that time) and to ask questions. Residents living along Abbott Drive will receive a letter informing them when the meeting is scheduled.

Daniel J. Hintze, vice president at National Exchange Bank & Trust of Fond du Lac, was present to discuss project financing.

Rates, payment schedules, and other factors affecting a 10-year loan were discussed.

Supervisor Patricia Horne asked what the tax impact of borrowing the money for that period would be. Clerk/Treasurer Rhonda Klatt said that had not been calculated, because up to that point, exact numbers were not known.

Horne asked if Klatt could calculate the tax impact if the loan were instead for seven years, or five. Klatt said she would calculate that, and Hintze said he would provide the numbers from the bank’s side.

Hintze remarked that many other municipalities taking out construction loans have additional debt. Since Sherman does not, it could perhaps decide to pay the loan off more aggressively than a 10-year period.

“It’s a difficult step, after 31 years on the board, to take on debt,” said Goehring.

The board deferred action on the loan, until more numbers and calculations became available, perhaps by the March meeting. Hintze said he would be at that meeting.

The stretch of Abbott Drive that will be completely resurfaced is about five miles long. Of that, about four miles lies in Sherman, which will be responsible for about 78 per cent of the project’s costs. About a mile of Abbott Drive lies in the town of Scott, which will be responsible for the rest of the costs.

A TRIP grant is expected to cover 48.5 per cent of total costs.

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