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New curb, gutter, sidewalk ordered for older areas
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Curb, gutter and sidewalk will be installed in older areas of Ceres now that funding is in place and a contractor has been hired.

J.J.R. Construction of San Mateo was the lowest of three bidders for the job and given a $319,636 contract by the Ceres City Council on June 25.

The upgrades will be performed on El Camino Avenue, Magnolia Street, Don Pedro Road, Tenth Street and Roeding Road where the improvements are missing. The work also includes abandoning old dry wells and hook ups to storm drainage systems.

Some discussion took place about the 10 percent contingency of $31,963 for any possible unforeseen work. While contingencies to city-issued contractors have come under scrutiny and questioning in recent years, City Engineer Toby Wells steadfastly defends the practice as time saving. In the case of the contingency for this contract, Wells said it came in handy. He said that when the project was being designed, the homeowner at the corner of Don Pedro and Tenth Street did not want to give up right of way for curb, gutter and sidewalk. That owner has since sold to a new owner who does want the improvements. Wells said that makes for a complete and much nicer looking project, which is covered by the contingency.

"We will have a very thin safety net as a result of the late change," said Wells.

Councilman Mike Kline said he gets especially irritated when contractors use up all of a 10 percent contingency and request more. But Wells maintains that the city has control about use of contingencies and evaluate the need for additional work in the field.