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Linton wastewater bids come in lower than expected

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Pending changes to Linton's sewer systems could come in less expensively than the $4.6 million once expected.

Bids for the City of Linton's wastewater treatment system improvements were opened Monday, though a decision remains on hold.

"We will not be able to award the contracts at this time, just because of the pending grants and State Revolving Fund money," said Mayor John Wilkes.

Still, the mayor said Monday evening he's happy with how bids came in lower than city officials had expected.

"I was very pleased," Wilkes said. "Truthfully, the bids came in far lower than we had expected," the mayor said.

Initial estimates on the project suggested the cost could run as high as $4.6 million.

An expected State Revolving Fund Loan of around $3.5 million, coupled with a $500,000 Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) grant, was counted on to fund the majority of the project.

However, with cost estimates running significantly lower than expected, the savings the city could face may be considerable.

Among the bidders on the collection system improvements were:

* Inland Water Pollution Control, with $534,942.70.

* Insituform, with $578,425.90.

* Miller Pipeline, with $527,897.02.

While Miller was the apparent low bidder on the base package, Utilities Superintendent Brent Slover noted the bid packages included several alternative options.

That could change which firm emerges as the lowest bid option.

On the wastewater treatment improvements, only two bidders submitted proposals.

Graves Plumbing Co. was the apparent low bidder at $2,345,678, while Mitchell & Stark bid $2,499,999 as their base package proposal.

Again, Slover noted those bids are only base bids, and could be altered considerably based upon which alternatives the city chooses to utilize regarding construction plans for the facility.

Among possible changes are the relocation of digesters on the property, per past discussions.

No action was taken on the bids, however, as Triad Associates, Inc., the Indianapolis engineering firm advising the city on the refit, took the proposals under advisement.

The City Council did approve one contract Monday evening, agreeing to allow the Southern Indiana Development Commission (SIDC) to provide oversight for the city's grant, which could bring the project up to $500,000 in funding for the wastewater refit work.

Council members approved the contract 4-0, with Councilman Nigel Lehman sidelined by illness Monday evening.

SIDC will be paid a percentage of the $500,000 OCRA grant, Wilkes said. How much that will be, however, remains uncertain, the mayor added, because the bids arriving at lower amounts than was initially expected could mean the OCRA funds are concurrently reduced.

"It is up to $500,000," Wilkes said. "So we could get less than that. A maximum of a half-million dollars was what was approved."

One bid package arrived too late to meet the city's 3 p.m. deadline Monday afternoon.

That proposal, which was delivered to City Hall by FedEx at 3:41 p.m., came from Layne Engineering, the former Reynolds Engineering.

"We did not open them," Wilkes said.

It was given to engineers unopened.

Triad representatives will contact the company and explain that the package arrived too late to meet the deadline necessary for public projects.

Because of that lateness, the proposal will not be considered.

"When something like that happens, you send it back and hope that later you don't find out it was lower than the bid you accepted," said city attorney John Rowe.

Also Monday, the City Council opened and accepted a bid for the demolition of a property due north of the Linton Police Department.

Carr-Thomas submitted the winning bid with a $5,000 contract proposal to demolish the property and have it hauled away, outbidding Landis Excavating, which submitted a bid proposal of $5,800.

Councilwoman Linda Bedwell moved Carr-Thomas be awarded the contract, which will tear down a home the city had been seeking to acquire and demolish for over a year. She was seconded by Councilman Jathan Wright, and the Council approved the deal 4-0.



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