Archive for Wednesday, May 14, 2003

City council rejects bids for new plant

May 14, 2003

The city's two biggest concerns -- contracting for additional water and construction of a sewage treatment plant -- still haven't been resolved.

On Monday, Tonganoxie City Council members decided to reject two bids to construct the wastewater treatment plant because they were too high. City Administrator Shane Krull said he had negotiated with a Topeka firm in an effort to find a better price for the city.

Krull said Charlie Striker of CAS Construction, Topeka, had lowered his bid from $4.1 million to between $3.8 million and $3.9 million. That's still a substantial way from the city's $3.2 million construction estimate.

"There was not enough savings realized," Krull said.

He suggested the city again seek bids for the plant -- later this year or early next year.

The Kansas Department of Housing and Environment did not renew the operating license for the aging facility on Dec. 31, 2001, but Krull said the city isn't in danger of incurring fines.

"But if you ignore them, they could find ways of making you notice them." Krull said about the KDHE.

When bids were first taken in mid-March, President Bush had just given his 48-hour ultimatum to Iraqi president Saddam Hussein.

The city will seek bids later this year or early next year. Because spring and summer are the busiest seasons for construction, Krull said contractors would be more apt to seek new projects during the winter.

"Right now, people don't need work," Krull said.

If a satisfactory bid isn't received, the city will consult the KDHE about its next option.

In the meantime, the city must tend to its existing plant. The spiral lift pump, which takes wastewater inflow and lifts it into the treatment facility, must be repaired. An original estimate of nearly $5,780 increased to $8,440 after more infrastructure problems were found.

And in another pressing matter, a meeting is set for Thursday night to discuss an agreement to obtain additional water for the city of Tonganoxie and Rural Water Districts 6 and 9.

The city and the rural districts make up Wholesale Water District 6, which hopes to contract with Bonner Springs to provide 1,000 more gallons a minute. However, an engineer from Rural Water District 9 is concerned about whether pipes could supply the increased water with 45 pounds per square inch of pressure.

So the wholesale district and Gary Saunders, water superintendent for Bonner Springs, will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday at Council Chambers, 321 Delaware.

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