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Tucker City Council approves contract for public works maintenance

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Tucker City Council approves contract for public works maintenance

Tucker City Hall. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Tucker, GA — The Tucker City Council, at its Feb. 13 meeting, approved a contract with Lowe Engineers to manage public works maintenance. 

In November 2022, Tucker voters approved a referendum allowing the city to take over the maintenance of stormwater systems and roads from DeKalb County. The city also increased the millage rate to 3 mills to fund the service. 

“In our model, we will be using subcontractors to perform the physical maintenance,” City Manager Tami Hanlin wrote in a memo. “These functions, such as filling potholes, maintaining right of ways, traffic signals, and responding to emergencies will directly impact residents.”

As part of considering taking over public works, the city had to determine who would perform the service and how it would get done. 

Mayor Frank Auman formed a selection committee to review, interview, and make a recommendation on public works maintenance. The committee was made up of the mayor, two city council members, the city manager, the city attorney, and two expert residents with experience in engineering and public works. 

“During the course of those discussions, we said that we weren’t quite sure how that would work out, and we’ve since been working hard at that,” Auman said. “A few months ago we issued a request for a quote, an RFQ, to the public, anybody who wanted to make an offer to help us with those things.” 

He added that the RFQ was left open-ended because the city wanted the bidders to share their expertise with the city. 

“We wanted them to look at us and say here’s how we would do it in your specific case,” Auman said. 

The total annual cost of the contract is about $1.2 million and the total startup cost is $299,520. The startup period is between March to June, and the annual cost will be included in the fiscal year 2024 budget. The pricing includes trucks and part-time “reach back” staff, according to a memo from City Manager Hanlin. 

Lowe Engineering also started the public works in Dunwoody and Brookhaven, two newer DeKalb County cities. The city will continue working with Jacobs Engineering to deliver capital projects. 

The city council also approved a contract with Atlas Engineers to do a baseline inventory and condition assessment of Tucker’s stormwater system. The estimated cost of the project is $689,400. 

The city will begin taking over its stormwater assets from DeKalb County on July 1. 

“This is an instrumental part of what we’re doing as we move forward with public works, which is getting that baseline data that we need on all of our stormwater as we…take this over,” Deputy City Manager John McHenry said. 

Atlas Engineers did an assessment study for the city in June 2022 as part of its educational outreach of the referendum. 

“[The previous assessment was] very helpful in determining how many corrugated pipes we had, how old they were. It’s important as we move forward into this scope, which includes a massive amount of data collection,” McHenry said. 

The evaluation will give the city information to create a plan for repairs and replacement of various components of the stormwater system. 

“Condition assessments will include material, size, shape, ‘is a safety issue present,’ ‘is flow present,’ deformation percentage, siltation, overall condition, invert condition, ‘is fracture present,’ and joint condition,” McHenry wrote in a memo. “These assessments will be based on videos obtained from the pole cameras. Additionally, the new data will build a stormwater system for the City that will allow for future hydrology and hydraulics modeling to best prioritize City investment.”

 In other business: 

 – The city council amended the city’s alcoholic beverages ordinance to allow the city to grant home brew event permits. 

– The city council awarded a contract to Pond for $48,832 to create a new special zoning district for Lawrenceville Highway, between Cooledge Road and Brockett road. 

The zoning district would address redevelopment of existing properties, an improved gateway into the city, and compliance with the city’s existing studies and plans, Community Development Director Courtney Smith wrote in a memo.  

The project will kick off in March and be completed in September. 

Some of the objectives of the project include analyzing the existing uses and zoning districts along the corridor, identifying redevelopment opportunities, identifying the parcels to be included in the special zoning district, and finding development approaches to accommodate the small and narrow properties along the corridor.   

 – The council approved a contract with Dynamo Pool Management for annual pool maintenance operations. The initial contract is for $6,460 and will run from March 1 to June 30. The contract will renew on July 1 at the full annual rate of $21,150. It can be renewed for up to five years. 

The city operates two pools at Cofer and Rosenfeld Parks. The city previously contracted with Swim Atlanta for pool maintenance in 2021. However, at times, Swim Atlanta struggled to meet the requirements of the contracting due to staffing issues with lifeguards. 

“They did a great job,” Parks and Recreation Director Rip Robertson said. “Because of the limited money they had to hire, they were not able to attract enough staff to really provide what was required in the [request for proposals].”

In November 2022, Swim Atlanta proposed a contract renewal. The city decided to send the service back out to bid and split the contracts to have one for maintenance and one for lifeguards.

The city council additionally approved a contract with Aquatic Management, Inc., for annual lifeguard staffing. The initial contract will run from March 1 to June 30 for the amount of $31,246. The contract will renew on July 1 at the full annual rate of $65,540.

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