By John McCallum
Managing Editor 

Council issues construction awards

Sidewalks, paving and street preservation work continues


Last updated 7/1/2021 at 8:24am

CHENEY – The City Council approved a pair of construction projects and authorized signing a joint agreement to get a third underway at its meeting last Tuesday, April 14 — held via Zoom.

The council approved projects totaling $26,825 — the first a $13,500 contract with Five Star Concrete, Inc. for sidewalk repair work and the second a $13,325 contract with Inland Asphalt Company for repair work associated with some water main leaks earlier this year. Public Works Director Todd Ableman said the city received two bids for both, with the second bid for sidewalk work coming in at around $27,000.

The second bid for the asphalt work came from Shamrock Paving and was $19,926. Councilman John Taves noted Shamrock is normally “pretty competitive” but apparently was not this time.

“This is a different environment than what we’re used to dealing with,” Ableman said. “Some of the oil prices are lower and we’ve in the past had Inland come in well under (other bids), so sometimes they just want to keep their crews busy. It could pose for some very competitive bidding in the next couple of months.”

Council also approved a resolution authorizing Mayor Chris Grover to sign a local agency supplemental agreement with the state Department of Transportation for work on the Washington Street Preservation Project. The agreement is part of the standard process in allocating funds to the work.

Cheney is eligible to receive up to $731,000 in funding from the federal Surface Transportation Block Grant and Highway Infrastructure programs for street preservation work on Washington from Oakland to West 6th Street. Enacting the agreement allows the city to designate the remaining $674,880 in federal money to the actual preservation work.

“The whole idea is to just have DOT authorize the remaining federal funds,” Ableman said.

Ableman said the resolution doesn’t include a supplemental agreement for about $83,000 for engineering work, something that will come before council at its next meeting. The city is targeting advertising bids by April 23, a bid opening date of May 6, with the project getting underway hopefully by mid-June.

Ableman said the contract is very “favorable” to the city, even with the possibility for a lot of changes. He expects bids to come in under the engineering estimate, especially since traffic control requirements can sometimes be expensive in such bids.

With Eastern Washington University putting all spring quarter classes online as a measure to slow the spread of the coronavirus, daily traffic around the campus has been virtually reduced to nil.

“We don’t have anyone up at EWU so we don’t have to deal with a lot of traffic, so that may expediate the project,” he said.

In a final item, the council approved a $5,300 disbursement from the city’s Lodging Tax Fund to the Cheney Rodeo Association to help it cover insurance requirements for this summer’s event. The association originally asked for $13,000 from the fund. Taves questioned why the Lodging Tax Committee didn’t award the full amount, with Councilwoman Jill Weiszmann explaining that the amount awarded is what has previously been given to the Rodeo.

Finance Director Cindy Niemeier defended the decision, noting the committee feels the Rodeo has other avenues it can utilize to raise funding. Niemeier also said this year the committee agreed to pay the full insurance amount, whereas in previous years have only paid a portion.

Besides the Cheney Rodeo, the council has awarded $23,518 to the Cheney Merchants Association for Mayfest and $5,565 to Northwest Tandem Rally for a cycling event this summer. The awards still leave significant amount of money in the fund. Prior to the rodeo award, Niemeier said in an April 17 email the fund contained $174,000.

But with restrictions still in place to battle COVID-19, Niemeier said the awards are contingent on the organizations being able to hold the events, while new revenue into the fund is likely going to shrink.

“Budgeted revenues for 2020 were $55,000, although with the pandemic, I doubt that revenue will be realized,” she said in the email.

John McCallum can be reached at

Author Bio

John McCallum, Managing Editor

John McCallum is an award-winning journalist who has been with the Cheney Free Press for over 20 years. He has received 10 Washington Newspaper Publisher Association awards for journalism and photography, including first place awards for Best Investigative, Best News and back-to-back awards in Best Breaking News categories. He has been serving as editor of the Spokane Valley News Herald since March 2020.

Phone: 509-235-6184
Contact John McCallum


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