The Garden City Commission reduced the cost and scope of the Cycle 1 city street sealing program at Tuesday’s regular commission meeting.

The street sealing program runs in a six-year cycle — the city is divided into six equal segments, or “cycles.”

Chip seals are used by the city as a preventative maintenance process to rehabilitate weathered asphalt surfaces.

Matt Allen, Garden City city manager, said the idea to reduce the cost and scope of the cycle’s sealing was to prepare for a possible financial downturn when finalizing a budget for 2021.

Allen said there are few projects in the city with this type of price tag, so in talking with the Andy Liebelt, the city’s interim Public Works director, they felt it would be a good idea to bring up the possibility of scaling back the project to save cost with the commission.

“As we talked about it, we felt it was necessary to show you this option,” he said. “We have every confidence you’re going to be dealing with a sales tax shortfall that is of this size or greater in the general fund.”

The street sealing bids were approved during the March 17 commission meeting for a cost of $450,358.80.

The reduced project cost is $168,754.20.

Liebelt said there is a downside of not completing all of Cycle 1 in one year: it pushes the six-year maintenance cycle to seven years.

“From a preventative maintenance perspective, yes, we want to do this project, we want to make it happen,” he said. “From an immediate cost-reduction perspective, we could modify the project and save the money now and see what happens maintenance-wise with these streets that we don't do down the road.”

Allen said the idea to do a partial cycle does allow the city to mostly stay on schedule.

If there’s a year where there’s favorable pricing for materials, they can add volume or they could use the excess, because the quantities are estimates, to cover another road or two, or trouble spots, Allen said.

“We could do two things, we could strategically use that extra quantity on this area or we could budget a little more aggressively in the subsequent five years so that by the time we get done with Cycle Six, we're caught up and we're back on schedule when Cycle One rolls around next time,” he said.