$650K for a traffic light???

In a special board meeting on May 31st, GPS board members voted to support district recommendations for a street light improvement at Highland High School.  The decision was split with 3 members voting in favor, 1 objection, and 1 abstention.  Board member Shane Stapley was the only opposed citing concerns that final cost figures were still as yet unknown and preferring less expensive options to solve traffic issues and driver frustrations.  The improvement project was originally proposed last year in June/July during the “Truth in Taxation” board meeting, in which a list of expenses was considered as reasons to increase the Adjacent Ways fund from $1.8M to $2.2M (a ~20% increase). 

Last year many citizens expressed concerns to the board and district about increasing taxes during the prevailing economic conditions.  District officials cited proposed increases of approximately $4 dollars per household on average, minimizing the overall impact individually.  Adjacent Ways monies are typically used for improvements or areas where construction and ongoing development adjacent to district property occurs.  However, many districts stretch the application (and perhaps the intent) of this fund to cover additional expenses.  State legislators have commented as to the abuses of this fund and the intent lawfully provided for its uses.  Certainly, a traffic light improvement is easily covered under the intent of this fund isn’t it?  In short, Yes it is. 

The question remains as to why such an extravegant expense is necessary for such a project.  Details indicate an overall cost of ~$67K for the necessary equipment purchased at a discount from the Town of Gilbert.  Estimates for work to be done outside of the traffic light specifics are ~$200K.  This leaves a $400K question mark.  At the May 26th meeting when final proposals were discussed, the amount to be approved was ~$517K.  A week later, this number had grown to ~$668K.  Just what is it that taxpayers are paying for?  It seems apparent that at least three other board members are unconcerned with these details… so long as the term “student safety” can be applied, it appears there’s no end in sight for what amount of money won’t be approved.

2 comments to $650K for a traffic light???

  • gpswatchdog

    I am curious to know from citizens out there familiar with this type of work, if the proposed revisions to Highland High with the traffic light and parking lot renovations were reasonable in cost?

    The breakdown of this 650K cost was as follows; $195K for architectural and design fees to HDA Architects and the following to Core Construction $15K for general conditions (contract fees, insurance, etc), $7,950 for site demolition, $3,770 for Survey, $144,591 for asphalt paving and earthwork for the parking lot, $57,713 for site utilities, $10,550 for drywell, $60,165 for new concrete curbing and gutter,$9,309 for signs and paint stripping, $4,950 for metal gates on each end of driveway, $5K landscaping, $129,750 for traffic control light (City of Gilbert to sell $68K of these parts at cost allegedly), and owner allowances of $10K as a cushion for incidentals.

    The 650K cost was not simply for a traffic light, but for all of the above site renovations and improvements. What do the readers who are familiar with construction say about the reasonableness of these costs?

  • 1776redux

    $650K for a traffic light??? Answers… and More Questions

    It looks as though we have finally gotten to the bottom of Gilbert’s new $650,000 stoplight project-or have we? As the product of nearly Herculean efforts by GPS Governing Board member Staci Burk, we now have the breakdown for this 2/3 Million $ project. But the answer begs even more questions:

    · Why does it take over a week in man-hours by one member of the school’s board to get the answers to questions that should be answered before such a vote should have been taken?

    · If so little is known about such an expensive project, why is it even being voted on?

    · Are the quotes for the work reasonable?

    · Why would 3 out of 5 school board members vote for a project when they don’t know what they are spending money on? Are 2/3’s of the School Board just going along to get along with the GPS Superintendent, Assistant Superintendents and Associate Superintendents?

    · Why doesn’t the administration of GPS make this information available to the school board or do they even have it?

    · How can the public weigh in on large expenditures by the GPS Governing Board when even the GPS Governing Board doesn’t have all of the facts and those facts are not known to the general public until long after the voting occurs?

    I attended the May 24, 2011 public meeting of the GPS governing board and I did not find any evidence that would lead me to believe that the Highland High Project would improve safety. To the contrary, it seems that many of the accidents in the area were at the existing traffic lights. One might conclude that another stoplight would cause more accidents than it would prevent. The reason that the school board is paying for the light is because the DOT and the Town of Gilbert have determined that no such additional light is warranted.

    The only abstaining vote was by Staci Burk and the only no vote to this project was cast by Shane “The Spine” Stapley. I applaud the efforts of our Conservative board members for doing an outstanding job even when it goes against the status quo.

    ~ Harry Mathews – Admin. – Education Action Committee

    (See below more information)

    E-mail from GPS Governing Board member Staci Griffin-Burk on June 8, 2011 to the Admin. of The Education Action Committee

    Hi Harry:

    Here is the breakdown of the cost for the Highland High Project. I spent probably 50 hours doing my homework on the exact cost of the proposal and the safety issues presented at the meeting. I spoke with officers that work the area, civil engineers, the city traffic engineer, architects for the project, Gilbert PD Sargeant for the area, traffic injury statistics, legal liability issues and cost related with that, etc.

    The breakdown of this 650K cost was as follows; $195K for architectural and design fees to HDA Architects and the following to Core Construction $15K for general conditions (contract fees, insurance, etc), $7,950 for site demolition, $3,770 for Survey, $144,591 for asphalt paving and earthwork for the parking lot, $57,713 for site utilities, $10,550 for drywell, $60,165 for new concrete curbing and gutter,$9,309 for signs and paint stripping, $4,950 for metal gates on each end of driveway, $5K landscaping, $129,750 for traffic control light (City of Gilbert to sell $68K of these parts at cost allegedly), and owner allowances of $10K as a cushion for incidentals.

    The 650K cost was not simply for a traffic light, but for all of the above site renovations and improvements. I am curious as to what those who are familiar with construction would say about the reasonableness of these costs? I was told by those I spoke with that they were reasonable, but would like a variety of input.

    Also, the ajacent ways budget was not increased. The district cut other projects or found more efficient ways of doing those projects to keep in line with the desires of the taxpayers expressed at that 'truth in taxation' meeting.

    Let me know if you have any questions for me, I am always glad to help.

    Warm regards,

    Staci

    Below is a previous posting on Gilbert Public Schools News and Information

    (http://gilbertschools.info/2011/06/07/650k-for-a-traffic-light/ )

    $650K for a traffic light???

    By SchoolChoice4Ever, on June 7th, 2011

    In a special board meeting on May 31st, GPS board members voted to support district recommendations for a street light improvement at Highland High School. The decision was split with 3 members voting in favor, 1 objection, and 1 abstention. Board member Shane Stapley was the only opposed citing concerns that final cost figures were still as yet unknown and preferring less expensive options to solve traffic issues and driver frustrations. The improvement project was originally proposed last year in June/July during the “Truth in Taxation” board meeting, in which a list of expenses was considered as reasons to increase the Adjacent Ways fund from $1.8M to $2.2M (a ~20% increase).

    Last year many citizens expressed concerns to the board and district about increasing taxes during the prevailing economic conditions. District officials cited proposed increases of approximately $4 dollars per household on average, minimizing the overall impact individually. Adjacent Ways monies are typically used for improvements or areas where construction and ongoing development adjacent to district property occurs. However, many districts stretch the application (and perhaps the intent) of this fund to cover additional expenses. State legislators have commented as to the abuses of this fund and the intent lawfully provided for its uses. Certainly, a traffic light improvement is easily covered under the intent of this fund isn’t it? In short, Yes it is.

    The question remains as to why such an extravegant expense is necessary for such a project. Details indicate an overall cost of ~$67K for the necessary equipment purchased at a discount from the Town of Gilbert. Estimates for work to be done outside of the traffic light specifics are ~$200K. This leaves a $400K question mark. At the May 26th meeting when final proposals were discussed, the amount to be approved was ~$517K. A week later, this number had grown to ~$668K. Just what is it that taxpayers are paying for? It seems apparent that at least three other board members are unconcerned with these details… so long as the term “student safety” can be applied, it appears there’s no end in sight for what amount of money won’t be approved.
    http://gilbertschools.info/2011/06/07/650k-for-a-

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