VALPARAISO | Proposals from consultants on doing a route study of the V-Line intracity bus service will be opened in a month.
Valparaiso's Board of Public Works and Safety recently approved seeking the proposals. It was one of three consultant contracts the board acted on.
The board also agreed to hire Chester Inc. to do architectural drawings of the planned public works department campus and to hire HR Unlimited Resources to do a wage study.
The V-Line study is expected to take six to nine months to complete starting in the fall so it will include the Valparaiso University students. Planning director Tyler Kent said the study will help guide the future of the bus system.
"It will identify what we are doing right, what improvements we can make and what routes we might need to add in the future," Kent said.
Kent said the buses are often at maximum capacity, and the study will help determine if more buses or routes should be added. He predicted the V-Line, which had 100,000 riders in 2012, will experience more growth with the help of the study.
The contract with Chester Inc. is being finalized, but Public Works Director Matt Evans is anxious to get the project started. While the total amount of the contract is being worked out, Evans received permission to seek bids on the structural steel for the new buildings.
Evans said it takes about 12 weeks for the steel to be delivered after it is ordered, and he wants to be ready to start construction as quickly as possible when plans are complete. He hopes to have the new campus on the grounds of Valparaiso's sewage treatment plant ready to occupy by next spring.
The wage study is the first the city has done in about five years. HR Unlimited Resources estimated it will take about eight weeks to complete it at a cost of $6,500. It will review all the city positions and job descriptions and compare the pay with communities of comparable size.
"It will come into play as we are planning the budget for 2014," City Administrator Bill Oeding said.