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Council OKs road agreement with Highlands developer

LANGLEY — Langley City Council members did not look happy.

Blame an agreement that will see the city kick in more than $50,000 to get Fairgrounds Road built.

There were many long faces at the council’s meeting Wednesday when city planner Larry Cort asked the council to sign off on an agreement for the city to help pay for the new road.

“Nobody upstairs is happy that we’re here with this proposal tonight,” Cort told the council.

“But the delays in acquiring the easement and redesign issues cause us to be here,” he said.

Because of the city’s contract with the developers of The Highlands, Langley will pay $50,600, plus tax, toward the cost of Fairgrounds Road. The amount is the difference between the original bid amount of $155,000 and a new one that includes rising construction costs and revised engineering plans for the street.

The total cost of the road is set at $205,600.

The city will also pay up to $15,000 for costs related to management of the road project, including surveying, engineering and legal fees associated with completing Fairgrounds Road.

To address potential change orders based on unforeseen circumstances during the construction, the city will also establish a contingency fund of $10,000. Change orders above $10,000 will require further city council approval.

The roughly $70,000 for the new road is on top of the $44,547 that Langley spent between October 2006 and June 2007 on legal bills for the fight over the fairgrounds easement with the county and the fair board.

Langley also agreed to pay for a number of construction-related improvements for the fairgrounds, including new fencing along the road, a sewer extension and more. It is not clear at this point how much the improvements will cost the city.

“We do not have a cost estimate for the fence,” City Administrator Walt Blackford said.

“The sewer extension will be paid out of the Sewer Fund, something the city would eventually be doing in any case. We do not have an estimate at this time,” he added.

Fairgrounds Road is a proposed connector street between Al Anderson Avenue and Langley Road.

Cort said the money for the street comes from the city’s Capital Improvement Fund.

Clerk/treasurer Debbie Mahler said there is money in the budget to pay for the project.

The new homes in the Highlands will help pay for the road’s cost to the city, Cort said.

If the selling price for the 53 homes averages $450,000, the anticipated real estate excise tax revenue going into the Capital Improvement Fund would be more than $100,000.

Cort warned the road could become significantly more expensive if construction was delayed, given the current bidding climate and rapidly rising cost of materials.

The council agreed, and approved the agreement unanimously.

“I believe we have to move on this immediately before prices go any higher,” Councilwoman Rene Neff said.

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