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Bid to widen Eastern Blvd. well below budget

July 25, 2007|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN - The City of Hagerstown could save about $1.7 million after bids to widen Eastern Boulevard came in well below the project's estimated cost.

Assistant City Engineer Jim Bender said the original estimate was about $5.5 million to widen Eastern Boulevard between Conrad Court and Jefferson Boulevard.

But he told the City Council during its Tuesday work session that Craig Paving Inc. recently submitted a bid at about $3.8 million to complete the project.

"That's $1.7 million less than we had originally budgeted," he said.

The road needs widened to accommodate increased traffic, he said.

Bender said three other contractors also placed bids, but they were higher than the one submitted by Craig Paving Inc.

After Bender spoke, City Finance Director Alfred Martin urged the council to consider opening budget discussions in the fall to discuss more ways the city could save money.

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Martin told the council that he would have solid numbers in the fall concerning the city's financial status and, as a result, be able to predict future budgets with greater accuracy.

Potential savings would be used to help stave off deficits in fiscal years 2008-09 and 2009-2010, he said.

Projections for fiscal year 2008-09, for example, show that the city will face a deficit of more than $1 million.

Martin said he wasn't alarmed by the projected deficit.

The city has faced similar situations and always found ways to balance the budget, he said.

"We have a very creative staff," Martin said.

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