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Undergrounding bids rejected, project scaled back

The bids came in and the Port Orchard City Council backed away, opting to head back to the drawing board on the city’s long-planned undergrounding project.

The lowest bid for moving wire utilities underground at Geiger Street and Frederick Avenue came in at $473,000, considerably more than the $300,000 estimate provided by West Sound Engineering.

“I can’t support us spending the amount that the bids came at,” Councilman Rob Putaansuu said before the City Council unanimously rejected all bids.

On Wednesday morning the City Council’s Utilities Committee decided to expedite a bid request breaking the project down into distinct portions. Once bids are collected for the individual portions, the council can determine what it can afford.

The project was originally set for completion by June, when the Washington State Department of Transportation begins an overlay project on Bay Street from Bethel Avenue to State Route 16.

Because of this, Maher Abed said the bid proposal will have to move quickly.

“We’re going to expedite the process so we can stay ahead of that,” City Engineer Maher Abed said.

In other council business:

• The city approved a reallocation of funds from the no-longer-operational Serious Offender Community Action Program (SHOCAP) to the Kitsap Drug Court.

The program established a contract between drug offenders and the court. The offenders agree to participate in rehabilitative programs and to appear before a judge regularly for updates.

The program previously had a probation officer in charge of seeing that the offenders were remaining off drugs and maintaining the requirements of the contract.

Losses of certain funds eliminated that position.

Superior Court Judge Jay Roof appeared before the city council to request $900 to help re-establish the position.

Roof called the program “judicially supervised treatment” and said the courts ultimately save money by reducing the number of second-time offenders — he said 85 percent of those in the program do not re-offend.

“For that person that didn’t go to prison, we saved $25,000,” Roof said. “We’re saving money as well as saving lives.”

The city approved $900 for this year and up to $2,000 in future years to be moved from SHOCAP. The funding will not take any additional funds from the budget, because the money was already allocated to SHOCAP which is no longer in operation.

• McCormick Woods resident Dick Davis requested more communication from the city regarding possible annexation.

“We, as I suspect you folks, have got into the annexation discussion not clearly knowing how complicated this issues was going to become,” he said.

Davis said those working on the annexation of McCormick Woods unintentionally misled residents to believe the process would be more rapid.

“At some point, we ask that you engage with us in where annextion is going so we can represent to the people in our community and provide information about whether it’s good for them or whether it is not,” he said.

• Judy Oke, widow of Sen. Bob Oke, appeared with Bill Mahan to request the city sign a petition of support to name the newly built Tacoma Narrows Bridge after the senator, who worked in the Legislature to get the project approved and built.

“We plan to approach all the city councils and counties between here and Jefferson county to see if we can get support,” Mahan said.

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