By BRIAN SMITH
HUDSON OAKS — Hudson Oaks city council members approved the go-ahead for engineering work to be done on the Oakridge Drive paving project Thursday.
City Administrator Patrick Lawler said the engineering work is somewhat complicated because of the changes in right-of-way from 50 feet to 60 feet along the road’s length and will include lots of survey work. The work is scheduled to take about 150 days at a cost of $126,000.
Lawler said about one-third of the length of the road is actually in the county and that city officials will ask county commissioners for financial help with getting the road paved.
Construction bids are expected to be solicited in early summer, with work to begin in late summer 2014 and spread out among two fiscal years, which will help the city use two fiscal years to fund the project, expected to cost $1 million upon completion, Lawler said.
The council also reviewed its solid waste rates but made no decision on raising them.
Lawler said the current contract with Republic Services, which runs through April 2016 with the possibility of a two-year extension, has a 12 percent franchise fee paid to the city for fixing the city roads that the heavy trucks use. Over the past two years, small automatic cost increases, which were put into the contract but not been passed on to customers, have effectively knocked the franchise fee down to 7.6 percent.
Lawler said once the franchise fee drops below seven percent, a rate increase for customers may need to be considered.
“We’re going to need to make some decision on the rates before 2014,” Lawler said.
Instead of passing on a potential 6 percent rate increase all at one time, Lawler said breaking the increase into two years may be easier for customers to take.
Lawler said Hudson Oaks residents pay some of the lowest solid waste rates in the Metroplex, in part because an estimated 53 percent of residents take part in recycling programs, which divert an estimated 30 percent of trash away from the landfill.
While diverting that much trash away from the landfill won’t mean a 30 percent reduction in solid waste rates, it does give the city some negotiating power when the new contract is discussed, Lawler said.