In its latest foray into private contracts for public works, the Spokane Valley City Council gave preliminary approval Tuesday to a $1.175 million deal with Poe Asphalt Paving to repair the city’s streets this summer.
Asphalt and storm sewer repair has been the purview of Spokane County under a contract with the city since it incorporated. After crews were unable to finish the summer work, though, the city and county agreed last year to transition much of the work to private firms or city departments.
Last year, Poe was hired to finish much of the street repair the county was not able to complete, and several other contractors began taking care of things like grading gravel roads, cleaning drywells and repairing curbs.
If given final approval by the council, much of the work would be awarded to one company.
“It’s a pretty significant contract,” said Public Works Director Neil Kersten.
Bids for a portion of the work last year came in way over budget. But Kersten said this year’s combined contract drew two competitive offers, the other coming from Spokane Rock Products.
Poe Asphalt was recommended for the work because of lower costs related to overtime and the company’s longer track record, he said.
After Poe’s work on city streets last year, Kersten said he was impressed with the quality of the repairs and the company’s management.
“They operate very efficiently,” he said.
The council gave its unanimous approval to the public works department to negotiate the contract, which will come back to the council later for final approval.
“I think this is a good step in the right direction,” said Councilman Gary Shimmels, a retired contractor.
Although $1.175 million has been budgeted for the contract, the company will be paid based on the work it completes.
City officials are hoping most or all of the work gets done, citing things like rutted shoulders that have gone unrepaired and can cause more significant damage to roads.