Town Opts To Re-Bid Sewer Project

The Crothersville Town Council opted to reject the lone bid of over $3 million for a wastewater treatment project last Tuesday due to adequate local funding and to re-bid an amended project in order to gain more bidders.
At the August 25 bid opening, the town council, grant administrators and town engineer were baffled that, while 12 firms obtained construction plans, only Mitchell & Stark Construction of Medora entered a bid which was nearly $600,000 over the engineer’s estimate.
After the bid opening, officials conferred with non-responding contractors. Nearly every one of them, Trena Carter of ARa (Administrative Resource associates, the town’s grant writing firm) told the council at last Tuesday’s meeting “They all said we need more time to complete the project.”
The original specs called for a notice to proceed to be given Oct. 1 and the project be completed July 31, 2012.
“Contractors weren’t certain that the town would provide that Oct. 1 notice to proceed but the final finish deadline was not changed. “That nine month work schedule scared some contractors from bidding,” said Brad Bender of FPBH, the town’s engineering firm for the project. “And it could explain the higher than expected bid we did received.”
Bender recommended to the council that the town re-bid the project. “We are making changes to the specifications and work plan,” he said.
Bender said that even with an October bid opening, contractors would be given 365 days to complete the project, a move approved by federal funding agencies.
The new project completion date would be Jan. 31, 2013, he said.
“It is in the best interests of the town residents (to re-bid the project),” said council president Ardell Mitchell. “This should bring the project more in line with the funding limits of the town.”
Had the first bid been accepted, it would have required the town to come up with over $400,000 additional local dollars.
As a result of the re-bid, the town cancelled a public hearing to consider approval of a local sewer rate increase. That original proposal would call for a 12% increase the first year and 4% increases the next three years. Depending on the results of the re-bid, that number may change.
A public notice to bidders is found on page 5 of this edition. The town will open bids at their regular Oct. 4 monthly meeting.
The town is under a deadline from IDEM (Indiana Department of Environmental Management) to remove surface water from the wastewater system and to prevent sewer overflows when untreated sewage is released downstream during periods of heavy rain.