Suzanne Loomis, public works director for the city of Newton, presented the Newton City Commission Tuesday evening with a proposal to update excavation and pavement cut codes for the city.

While reviewing the street budget, it came to Loomis’ attention updates were needed.

“We haven’t updated portions of the code since 1982,” she said. “Our costs for pavement repair have obviously increased, and our operating budget eats the overruns.”

Utility companies or building contractors are required to get excavation permits to cut out parts of streets or sidewalks to do needed utility work. After that, the city’s street division comes back to replace the cutouts in the pavement.

After the repair is made, the city sends the utility company or building contractor an invoice that describes the charges and work completed by the city.

“This allows for assured compaction and quality assurance on all street cut-pavement replacements,” Loomis said.

When the city cost was last updated in 1982, a cubic yard of concrete cost about $46, and the current cost is about $80, she said. During the past 26 years, material costs have increased about 82 percent, while labor has increased 40 percent to 50 percent.

Loomis gave the commission a couple examples of problems with the code. A sewer cut in an unpaved alley in Southwest Sixth Street cost $303, but the company received a bill from the city for only $126, and on Oak Street, a gas line cut cost the city $308, but the municipality only received $210 from Kansas Gas Service.

The average difference between the costs incurred and the amount billed is about $160, Loomis said.

The city commission approved code changes that will go into affect following publication. However, commissioner Rachel Thiesen asked Loomis to be proactive about the increases and send letters to those businesses licensed with the city to inform them before the new rates go into affect.

The city commission also approved being the go-through organization for a Harvey County Communities in Schools grant application for a juvenile justice authority Title V grant.

The grant would provide $50,000 to continue a delinquency prevention program in Newton public schools, said Nate Regier with Prairie View Process Solutions.

In other business, the commission:

• Received plans and specifications for the replacement of the Magnolia Street bridge and approved funding for the project. Bids will be received at 10 a.m. June 24.

• Approved closing Broadway and Sixth streets between the allies of either side of Main Street from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. June 14 for a sidewalk chalk festival sponsored by Youthville.

• Tabled discussion about nuisance lighting until the next meeting.

• Approved bids for the soccer field irrigation on Boyd. Unkel Underground of Derby was the only bid but came in at $68,353, which was less than the engineer’s estimate of $82,634.