Campbell City Council moves forward on water and sidewalk projects

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Campbell City Council set in motion two large-scale improvement projects during Tuesday’s monthly meeting, but it held off on another as state lawmakers debate the prevailing wage law.

Mayor Raymond Gunter signed a contract approving water improvement grant funding totaling $2,091,960. The city also received a loan of $530,653 for the same project. Improvements will include replacing thousands of feet of water lines throughout the city, replacing all water meters and fire hydrants and repainting both city water towers.

Improvements are also planned for Campbell sidewalks after the City Council approved an ordinance allowing the city to enter an agreement with the Missouri Department of Transportation.

The plan will allow MoDOT to improve sidewalks and curbs along Route 62 and Route OO in the city, using funds from MoDOT’s Surface Transportation Program. Construction work will include making curb ramps compliant with the American’s with Disabilities Act.

The council opted to hold off on accepting bids for the city’s new fire station project. Gunter urged council members to wait in light of Senate Bill 20, which would repeal the state’s law pertaining to the prevailing wage.

City Clerk Randall Baker says the measure would make projects under $500,000 exempt from the law.

Currently, Missouri law establishes a minimum wage that must be paid to works on public works construction projects. Prevailing wage rates currently differ by county and for different types of work, and are determined based on rates provided by contractors, labor groups and others through a yearly Contractor’s Wage Survey.

If exempt from the prevailing wage law, wages would start at the state’s minimum wage of $7.70 per hour.

Gunter told the council that the change in the wage law, if passed, would save the city over $100,000 on its upcoming fire station project. Those savings would come from lower wages paid to construction workers on the state-funded project.

As an example, Gunter said the price of the project could drop from an estimated $435,000 to $320,000 if the new prevailing wage law is passed.

Proponents of the measure include Gov. Eric Greitens, who said in his State of the State speech that the law “drives up the cost of important construction work that needs to get done.”

Though repealing prevailing wage measure reduces the cost of the project, opponents argue that eliminating prevailing wage laws invite out-of-state contractors to bid on the project, forcing others to compete by lowering wages and ultimately lowering tax revenue for the state.

The Campbell City Council plans to revisit plans for the new fire station next month as lawmakers continue to debate the measure. Gunter said that since the city has already waited this long to begin accepting bids, it’s worth waiting another month if there’s a chance it can save around $100,000 on the overall cost of the project.

Other measures approved at the meeting:

- Repairs of a city pump station on Highway B, which suffered storm damage in the past month. It’s expected to cost $400 in materials and $600 in labor.

- The Council approved a measure to burn down a dilapidated home on Monroe Street. The burn will be conducted as practice for the local fire department; then crews will clear the property.

- Spring cleanup will be held on May 8.

- The city will donate $500 to the Park Board for its annual Easter Egg Hunt.

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