by KIM HILSENBECK
The Kyle City Council has voted to spend $174,000 to hire a consultant to acquire the more than 30 easements needed to build an extensive sewer line to the southern tip of town.
The consultant, from LNV Inc./Stateside R.O.W. Services, will negotiate with property owners from Center Street to Yarrington Road. The city hopes that sewer service will attract development to the largely rural southern part of Kyle, an area currently served primarily by onsite septic systems. The lack of public facilities has thwarted development in the area between Kyle and San Marcos seen as a potential growth hotspot.
In the fall, City Manager Lanny Lambert brought an estimate to the City Council for the land agent portion of the work at a cost of about $86,000. Lambert said that amount was based on an informal request for services from the city’s long-time land agent, Diane Tinkler.
“At the time, council thought the cost was too high,” Lambert said.
When the services were sent out for bids, Tinkler did not submit a proposal.
According to Lambert, the $88,000 difference in price from his original request to council to the one they approved stems from the additional services needed, including survey work, title searches, appraisals, landowner negotiations, preparation of condemnation packets and more.
Prior to the council’s vote, Lambert proposed hiring a contract employee instead to act as a land agent for the city at $60,000 a year for up to three years. Lambert said a contract employee could also work on the easement agreements for four proposed road improvement projects.
The council, based in part on feedback from the city engineer, voted unanimously to move forward with the higher-priced consultant agreement.
Lambert said the work may be performed at a lower cost.
“It all depends on what we find on a case-by-case basis,” Lambert said.