PELLA — Current city budgeting and high bids for new city projects have resulted in deferred or rejected bid contracts by the Pella City Council.

On Tuesday, the city council deferred bids to expand the current apron at Pella Municipal airport and rejected bids for improvements to the W. Washington Street and Fifield Road intersection.

The city received six bids to construct a 100-foot wide by 530-foot long concrete pavement, including an additional 50 feet in width, to expand the Pella Municipal Airport’s existing apron. Pella City Administrator Mike Nardini says the expansion is needed due to increased takeoffs and airport landings. The existing apron does not support the increase in corporate jet traffic.

Garden and Associates, the project engineer, estimates total project costs at $863,674. Pella Concrete was the lowest bidder at $778,882.75 and is recommended by Garden and Associates. However, city council deferred awarding the bid contract to Pella Concrete until the next city council meeting on Aug. 16 to explore options to fund the project.

“The reason for this is the project was not budgeted in the city’s budget,” Nardini said. “We think it’s prudent for council to establish a funding source before formally awarding the contract for the project.”

Possible funding sources were discussed at the policy and planning meeting following the regular meeting. Nardini proposed the project could be covered by the city’s American Rescue Plan Act funds it received for COVID-19 relief, which total about $1.5 million. No formal action was taken for this funding.

Additionally, the city council rejected a bid for improvements to the W. Washington Street and Fifield Road intersection. The project’s only bidder was TK Concrete for $291,255 — more than three times the project engineer’s estimated costs of $89,984. The project includes the construction of a westbound right turn lane and tapers.

“Staff will plan to bid this project next spring. We believe that should result in lower costs for the project,” Nardini said.

In other news:

— The city council approved entering into a 28E agreement with Pella Community Schools to provide a school resource officer through the Pella Police Department. The resource officer will be assigned to the school district for eight hours a day during the academic year, beginning Sept. 1, 2022. The school district will be responsible for 50% of the annual cost for services, including wages and benefits. The Pella School Board will consider the agreement at their next meeting on Aug. 8.

— City council set a public hearing date of Sept. 6, 2022 to seek bids to construct a 42-mile fiber optic line to connect Pella to the Indianola Municipal Utilities Central Office, the city’s second backup transport line for Pella Fiber. Estimated costs for the project are $688,871.

Emily Hawk is the associate editor of the Ottumwa Courier and the Oskaloosa Herald. She can be reached at

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