Buda eyes progress on multiple bond projects

Movement on a handful of Buda bond projects could be forthcoming after city officials and elected leaders urged consultants and engineers forward earlier this month.

Kenneth Williams, Buda City Manager, said Sept. 18 a recent meeting with consultants and engineers allowed staff and city leaders to express concerns about sluggish progress on various bond items.

In August, members of the Buda City Council and city staff expressed frustration with the lack of progress on various bond projects. As a result of the meeting, Buda city officials received an updated timeline on improvements, with the majority of those starting by mid-to-late 2019.

“We are hoping this will expedite the process and proposals on different projects and what is going on,” Williams said. “We will continue to look for ways to speed up these projects and how we can get it done quicker.”

Buda Mayor George Haehn applauded city staff members for “tactfully” bringing Buda’s position and frustrations to the light of its consultant team.

“You did a lot better at doing that job than I did,” Haehn said.

Recent movements extend to projects under Proposition 4 of Buda’s 2014 bond, which deals primarily with drainage improvements. John Nett, Buda City Engineer, said city staff and Williams met with Proposition 4 consultants twice over the course of three weeks to discuss the remaining hurdles and outstanding items on many of the projects.

One major issue causing delays on the Houston Street and West Goforth Road drainage projects is obtaining permits from Union Pacific Railroad (UP) to begin construction. Nett said the city has already paid fees to UP and has gone through several rounds of comments with the company.

“Now is the time for them to approve this,” Nett said.

Buda is also seeking ways to avoid or work around several large caliper trees on the Houston Street drainage project. Nett said the city has received the help from an on-staff arborist to assess the health and viability of the trees, and if there’s a way to minimize damage or removal.

Meanwhile, Buda has had “fruitful discussions” on drainage improvements in the Oxbow subdivision, Nett said. Buda plans to issue a notice to proceed allowing contractors to have materials stored on hand to prepare for construction.

By doing so, Nett said it could help shorten the cycle of fabricating large reinforced concrete box culverts associated with the Oxbow project.

However, Buda officials continue to work on utility relocation negotiations for two major road projects under Proposition 3.

Nett said the city received the final draft utility relocation agreement from Pedernales Electric Cooperative for the Main Street and FM 967 improvements, as well as improvements on Old Goforth Road.

However, Nett said an estimated $350,000 that was expected to be the city’s burden has now been shifted to PEC. Nett cited the work of Alan Crozier, project manager for HDR Engineering, with working with PEC’s consulants to “get them to look at alternates” for relocating two transmission lines.

Buda expects to shoulder a $167,000 estimate to relocate PEC utility lines for the Main Street and FM 967 intersection project.

Officials are planning to meet with TxDOT area engineers to discuss a possible advanced funding agreement (AFA) for the FM 967 and Main Street project. An AFA is a written contract where TxDOT and a local government allocate participation in a road project.

Services that could be included in an AFA are acquiring right-of-way, providing for utility relocation or providing maintenance of a transportation project. Nett said the city plans to discuss streamlining the process and consolidating review and approval of the AFA. 

CORRECTION: in our print edition, we incorrectly attributed Greg Olmer, Buda Parks and Recreations director, as the presenter on several items in the story. John Nett, Buda City Engineer, presented the items to city council. We apologize for the error. 

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