On March 3, City Council postponed any action on a special assessment to bury power lines along the street until June 4.
“My recommendation would be, once we’re able to establish if there’s any agreement to contribute, whatever that level is, recalibrate the numbers and re-hold the public hearing,” City Manager Pat McGinnis said.
The city has proposed the burial of utility lines along Harbor from Columbus to Howard avenues, coinciding with the fall infrastructure project on Harbor Drive.
The Harbor Drive project is made possible by a $1.15 million grant from the Michigan Strategic Fund, which was awarded last year. It will include the reconstruction of the road between Franklin and Columbus avenues, and replacement of sanitary and storm sewer, and water lines.
On Jan. 2, City Council asked the city manager to report on the need for, the desirable extent of, and the probable life and cost of the underground placement of utility lines from Howard to Columbus. The report was sent to council, which set a public hearing for Feb. 5 to discuss the issue. City Council at that time postponed action until March 3.
The initial estimated cost of the utility burial portion of the project is $844,588, and the city has suggested that the Board of Light & Power cover 50 percent of the projected cost. However, no commitment has been made by the local utility.
Based on the 50 percent contribution from the BLP, the city has the remaining 50 percent of the cost ($422,294) being assessed to the properties between Columbus and Howard.
“Those numbers will likely change,” McGinnis said. “They might go up a little, they might go down a little.”
While the decision on burying the lines remains up in the air, officials say they are at least planning to set the table for the work to be done at some point in the future.
“We’ve established we’ll get the conduit in,” McGinnis said. “We can take best advantage of that trench being open.”
McGinnis said that since the urgency has subsided somewhat due to the conduit being put into place, the city will now focus on shoring up the funding details.