ALPENA - The cost for the City of Alpena and Alpena County to have Merit install fiber from the city limits along the M-32 corridor to the airport is going to have a higher cost than previously estimated. During Monday's Alpena Municipal Council meeting Assistant Engineer Steve Shultz told the council the final cost of the project is quoted an additional $33,000 total or $16,500 for each party.
According to Shultz the price cost of the materials and installation is still reasonable when compared to what the city has paid in the past for similar work and even though the return on investment will increase slightly, it is still a bargain.
The cost of the fiber installation would equate to $3.96 a foot and in the past the city has paid as much as $6 to $15. On that fact, Shultz said the city still will save money by partnering with Merit and the county. Councilman Mike Nunneley said it is common to see increases in estimates, but did question a $10,256 administration fee. He said doing the job and sharing the cost with others is good business and government. He said the fact others can pay to use the fiber will help the city and county increase funds.
"Any project is going to have additional costs that come up. I'm excited about the project, I'm excited about the cooperation with the county," Nunneley said. "You have heard me talk a lot about finding revenue or eliminating expense and this is an opportunity to find revenues and bonus it is in cooperation with the county and bonus on top of that it provides services out toward the airport, so it is a win, win, win."
Councilman Shawn Sexton said he was concerned at first, but after Shultz explained the reasons behind the increase in cost he was in support to following through with the project.
"It is safe to say I have some mixed feelings about the project, but I think it is more important that it is done in the collaboration with the county and by both of us being on board it has certainly helped our relationship," Sexton said. "I'm happy to be able to put in the extra $16,000 and change."
Shultz said Merit is expected to begin installing the fiber in the next two to three weeks.
In other business:
Steve Schulwitz can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5689.