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Longview council to consider street projects

By Sherry Koonce
Aug. 19, 2012 at 11 p.m.

Improvements along Green Street and Hollybrook Drive are among several streets projects Longview City Council members will consider Thursday.

The city council is expected to award a contract for reconstruction along Green Street, in a three-block area running though the heart of downtown Longview from Cotton Street to Whaley Street.

In addition to the three block area improvements, four intersections at Cotton, Tyler, Methvin and Whaley streets, and construction of a new traffic signal system at the intersections of Center, Tyler, Methvin and Whaley streets are part of the Green Street Improvement Project.

The $6 million Green Street project is the second-largest of the $52.6 million street bond package passed by voters in 2011. Construction will begin in October, said city spokesman Shawn Hara.

The city has received three bids for the Green Street Project. The lowest, at $6.3 million, is submitted by East Texas Bridge, a Longview company.

Construction is expected to begin in October. During that time traffic flow along Green Street will be detoured, affecting businesses from Cotton to Whaley Street.

Brick-lined streets that are caving in will be repaired to look like Fredonia and Tyler streets.

A second road construction contract is expected to be awarded for Stage Two oil dirt upgrades which includes: Aztec, Avenue A, Nay, Benny, Signal Hill, Arrow, Bosco, Bacle, Clements, Webb, Mary Ellen, Thomas and Raniers streets as well as shoulder improvements to Dundee Road.

The low bidder among the six submitted is Reynolds and Kay, Lt, of Tyler, for $810,434.

Funding is from the 2011 bond election fund.

Longview also is ready to purchase right-of-ways needed to upgrade a 3,600 linear feet portion of Hollybrook Drive to four lanes.

The right-of-way parcels are located on the north side of Holybrook Drive between Tyron Road and Loop 281 Eastman. Total estimated cost for the four parcels is $79,000.

In other matters, the council will consider suspending Southeast Electric Power Company's proposed effective date for a rate increase for 90 days.

If council approves the delay, the city will retain the lawfirm of Herrera & Boyle to represent Longview's interests.

SWEPCO has proposed an average rate increase of about $12 per month, or approximately a 16 percent increase for a residential customer in Texas using 1,000 kilowatt-hours per month.

The city council also will consider the 2012-13 fiscal year budget, and hold a public hearing on the proposed tax rate, 50 cents per $100 valuation.

The new fiscal year budget, proposed at $152.1 million includes employee pay raises, $600 for streets programs, $155,000 for upgrades to the city's aging traffic signals, and $90,000 in funding for a new city auditor.

The budget also calls for rate increases for water and sewer customers.

For the average customer using 7,000 gallons of water with a 5/8-inch meter, the bill would increase from $49.87 to $53.45 a month, a difference of $3.58.

On Aug. 30, the council will meet in special session for a public hearing to adopt the budget. The tax rate is scheduled to be adopted Sept. 13.



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