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Pavement marking cost to Mason City taxpayers up 167% since 2009



This news story was published on June 21, 2014.
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Pavement painting on 6th SW

Bike lane symbol, painted on 6th SW

MASON CITY – Taxpayers in Mason City are paying a whopping 167% more for pavement marking since 2009.

In 2009, the city paid $74,569.35 to a company from Gilbert, Iowa to paint pavement markings throughout the city.

This year, the cost has gone up to $199,433.50, an increase of 167%.  Quality Striping of Des Moines is doing the work, for the third year in a row.

City Engineer Mark Rahm explained why the cost is so much higher this year, compared to previous years.  For example, the cost last year was $109,168.70.

“The increase in the current Pavement Marking Program is related to the addition of markings for designation of bicycle lanes, sharrow symbols and cycle tracks over ten given routes throughout Mason City,” Mr. Rahm said.  “The addition to the project was identified in Phase 1 of the Activating Mason City, A Bicycle & Pedestrian Master Plan completed by RDG in 2013. Phase 1 also includes trail and trailhead signage, and the new construction of or improvements to the existing trails.”

Bicycle lane symbols cost the city between $100.00 and $120.00 each. The city ordered 1,262 of them (see city council packet from May 6, 2014, item #25.).

Pavement painting near 1st SE and Hampshire Avenue

Newly painted RR crossing set, near 1st SE and Hampshire Avenue, a section of track not used in decades.

Some folks are taking notice of the new markings, and some they feel may not be necessary.

“Found a wonderful example of Mason City tax dollars at work this week,” one NIT reader wrote.  “The RR crossing at 1 Street SE and South Hampshire” was given a pavement marking, indicating a rail crossing stop zone.  “Unfortunately, that section of rail hasn’t carried a train since probably the 70’s and has trees growing through the rails. Probably time to change that crossing to “exempt” status and quit wasting paint!”

The RR crossing set pointed out by the reader cost the city $85.00, city documents show (see city council packet from May 6, 2014, item #25.)

Pavement marking and painting was a job that was once done by city employees, at a minimal cost. Supplies were bought here in Mason City, a couple of workers did the job during the warm, dry days. Road Use Tax Funds, which typically cover the cost, were minimized for this project and spent elsewhere in upkeep of the roads. Stencils were made by city employees, and they carried a small paint machine around from site to site. In the era of downsizing the number of employees working for the City, the job has been outsourced for a number of years.

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Pavement painting costs to City of Mason City since 2009:

2009 – Kam Line Highway Markings, Gilbert Iowa – $74,569.35
2010 – Kam Line Highway Markings, Gilbert Iowa – $86,288.77
2011 – Kam Line Highway Markings, Gilbert Iowa – $78,841.69
2012 – Quality Striping of Des Moines – 100,484.10
2013 – Quality Striping of Des Moines – 109,168.70
2014 – Quality Striping of Des Moines – $199,433.50

Pavement painting in Mason City

Pavement painting in Mason City

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19 Responses to Pavement marking cost to Mason City taxpayers up 167% since 2009

  1. Philosophus Reply Report comment

    June 23, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    Nothing wrong with increasing biker presence and motorist awareness, however I agree with LVS on this one… They should just buy the equipment and have the streets department of the work. Remember the days when a town could look after itself? Outsourcing is like an epidemic anymore.

  2. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    June 23, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    No way that they needed to put that many down. Looks like garbage

  3. badpontiac Reply Report comment

    June 23, 2014 at 7:40 am

    Get those city employees off their dead azzes.

  4. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    June 22, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    Are all these new bike markings for Ragbrai? If not there is way to many of them.

    • Anonymous Reply Report comment

      June 22, 2014 at 5:27 pm

      No, they are not just for RAGBRAI. Theymark the designated bike routes in town. I think the number is just right but since they are new and different it does seem like there are a lot of them.

      • Anonymous Reply Report comment

        June 22, 2014 at 6:49 pm

        They are way too close together like every 30 fricken feet. If they are not for Ragbrai why aren’t they on every street.

        • Anonymous Reply Report comment

          June 22, 2014 at 7:32 pm

          Because not every street is a designated bike route.

          • Anonymous

            June 22, 2014 at 9:52 pm

            It’s overkill, don’t need six markings per block. Looks like shit. Haven’t seen any markings north of 4th street.Just seems like it’s linked to Ragbrai.

          • Anonymous

            June 28, 2014 at 10:11 pm

            One marking for each direction of travel before and after every intersection. Federal money so you have to follow their rules and it makes sense.

    • BCN Reply Report comment

      June 22, 2014 at 7:20 pm

      If anyone is interested, the below link is for the Mason City, A Bicycle & Pedestrian Master Plan.

      http://rdgusa.com/crp/activatemasoncity/

      It would have been good if the city had promoted this information a lot more to the public prior to actually initiating it.
      And to all the outlying areas as well.

      I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard ” What the heck are those and what do they mean?”

  5. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    June 22, 2014 at 10:46 am

    You don’t get to choose not to paint RR crossings. If it’s still a crossing whether or not it carries rail traffic, it still has to be painted. That being said, it seems the quality is less than stellar. It doesn’t even last a year, people are allowed to drive over them too soon, and some of the bike symbols look to be painted right over dirt.

  6. rukiddinh Reply Report comment

    June 21, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    This work was once done by city employees. I guess it goes to prove that contracting out city services is not always cheaper in the long run.

  7. mr t Reply Report comment

    June 21, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    If its a bike lane, why are they painted in the middle of street in most neighborhood s?

    • Anonymous Reply Report comment

      June 21, 2014 at 5:02 pm

      Not a dedicated bike lane. It’s a sharrow, an arrow that indicates you should share the road. If you are in a car it’s a warning that you are on a shared bike route. If you are on a bike it dictates where you should ride. If it’s near the center, it’s probably on a street with on street parking.

      • Anonymous Reply Report comment

        June 21, 2014 at 5:04 pm

        Oops, that shouldn’t read “dictates”. I meant to say “indicates”. Major difference. Stupid autocorrect.

      • Mother Nature Reply Report comment

        June 21, 2014 at 5:43 pm

        Thank you. Thoughtful, well reasoned and informative posts are always appreciated, much more than rants and raves, in my opinion

      • Anonymous Reply Report comment

        June 22, 2014 at 10:04 pm

        Are they going to mark sidewalks to show people where to walk? Didn’t need 1200 markings to show bikers where to ride but know we do? F’in stupid.

  8. LVS Reply Report comment

    June 21, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    Why would we not use local people to do this?? We could buy a lot of equipment for that kind of money.

  9. Joao do Carmo Reply Report comment

    June 21, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    I am not entirely sure the painting could be done for a lower cost. I saw a “crew” of 4 recently painting Railroad Crossing line; 1 was painting, 1 throwing the reflective beads, 1 was sweeping (leaning on broom) and 1 was apparenty supervising(maybe?).