Stormwater Bids Come In Too High

Construction on the anticipated stormwater project in Crothersville was met with a stumbling block when all four of the bids came in higher than the engineer’s estimate, the Crothersville Town Council learned at their monthly meeting last Tuesday.
And the process was complicated by two of the four firms failing to follow instructions and submit all bid documentation.
The town has been awarded a state grant of $427,000 to clear the western portion of Hominy Ditch, the main east-west drainage way for the town and install larger culverts at Park, Ave., Kovener Street and Bethany Road.
The town engineer estimated the work at $430,000 but the four construction companies interested in the work submitted bids over $60,000 higher.
Temple & Temple Construction of Salem was the apparent low bidder submitted $492,500; King’s Trucking & Excavation of Seymour submitted a bid of $492,700; Dave O’Mara Contractor of North Vernon submitted a bid of $495,665. Milestone Contractors of Columbus was the high bidder with $594,900.
“But our two lowest bidders did not turn in all of their homework needed to complete their bid,” said town engineer Brad Bender of FPBH of North Vernon. He explained to the council that representatives of all four firms attended the pre-bid meeting. “And we emphasized the importance of turning in all of the required bid documents and gave them a check list to follow,” Bender said.
He reminded the council that they do not have an obligation to accept the lowest bid and that the bidders must be responsible and responsive.
“Unfortunately, the two lowest bidders were not responsive,” Bender said.
To keep the project moving forward he recommended approving the bid by O’Mara Contractor and allow FPBH to review the specifications to see what work could be eliminated or curtailed to bring the project in closer to estimate.
But before the town can award a bid it must have money in place. Clerk-Treasurer Terry Richey told the council that extra money from the town’s CEDIT (Cumulative Economic Development Income Tax) could be used.
“It may not need to be spent but this will allow us to keep the project moving and allow construction to begin yet this summer,” said Bender.
The council unanimously approved earmarking the CEDIT funds and approving O’Mara as the responsive and responsible bidder.
Bender also told that council that the deadline was fast approaching to apply for another state grant to help small communities with paving, bridges, and curbs.
The Community Crossings Matching Grant program was originally a 50/50 match for street work. But the legislature now requires half of the state money go to smaller communities and at a 75/25 match, said Bender.
“This can be a big deal for Crothersville because it will allow you to get back $3 for every dollar you put in,” he said.
“The town usually spends $70,000 a year for street paving,” said council president Lenvel ‘Butch’ Robinson. “If we don’t do any paving this year and commit next year’s paving budget to the $420,00 grant, if approved, in 2018 we could have over a half-million dollars to re-surface streets in Crothersville.”
The council unanimously approved applying for the grant.
Bender said that the grant awards could be announced as early as late next month.
“If you’re are successful, that will give you ample time to figure what streets you want to re-surface,” said Bender.
In other business, the town adopted an ordinance to lower the speed limit on Main Street Circle to 15 mph and to prohibit parking or idling on the street.
The ordinance comes as a result of complaints lodged by residents that elementary school parents were speeding around the residential street next to the school to secure a place in line to pick up their children. The line extended well onto Main Street Circle which would clog residential traffic, it was reported.
“This ordinance lowers the speed limit and prohibits parking or idling vehicles on the street,” said town attorney Jeff Lorenzo. “And it provides for fines for violators.”
The ordinance, as adopted, is found on Page 6 of this issue of the Times. It will go into effect on Tuesday, Aug. 1, according to Lorenzo. School classes begin Aug. 2.
The council unanimously agreed to advertise for proposals to maintain the town’s water tower inside and out and to open those proposals at the town’s Aug. 1 meeting. That public notice is found on Page 5 of this week’s Times.
In a final matter, the council heard a report from Jason Bukowski of Shepherd & Moore Insurance of the town’s new insurance policy.
“You paid $39,498 in premiums last year. This year’s premium is about $1,500 higher owing to insuring four new police vehicles, two new pieces of utility department equipment, and additional police officers,” said agent. “For comparison, without that new equipment, your premium would have been about $200 lower than this year.”
The council agreed to re-new coverage with the firm.