December 22, 2014

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Lorain Council approves additional $2.1M for Jaeger Road project

LORAIN — Borrowing before bidding is not a good idea.

Due to higher than expected bids, Lorain’s City Council on Monday reluctantly approved an additional $2.1 million for the $6 million Jaeger Road improvement project.

“How much money are we going to waste on this road?” asked Councilman Eddie Edwards, D-5th Ward, who took office in 1998. “It’s outrageous.”

The 1.25-mile project from Leavitt Road to Kolbe Road project dates to 2006 and has been handled by three mayoral administrations. City Engineer Dale Vandersommen told Council the extra money and project delays are primarily from high engineering costs due to changes in the scope of the project.

Vandersommen, a city employee since 1995 and city engineer since 2011, said the scope changed as administrations and the composition of Council changed in the last eight years. He said the administration of Mayor Chase Ritenauer and Auditor Ron Mantini applied to the bond market to sell municipal bonds last year before contract bids were opened. The amount of borrowing sought was based on an old project cost estimate.

Councilman Dan Given, D-at large, said the engineering firms made the project bigger and costlier than Council wanted because they listened to the administrations of formers Mayors Craig Foltin and Tony Krasienko. Given said the administration of Mayor Chase Ritenauer was handed a mess,

“We’re knee-deep in it. We have to complete it now,” Given said. “But this is a classic example of how not to do things.”

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or egoodenow@chroniclet.com.