GALLIPOLIS — The Gallia County Board of Commissioners are expected to make a decision in regard to the future completion of the Kanauga-Addison sewer project during their next regular meeting.
The commission received two bid packets for the repair and completion of the project during their weekly meeting on November 15 — packets containing both a base and alternate bid.
According to Gallia County Commission President Harold Montgomery, the base and alternate bids represent the two options the commissioners have to move forward with the sewer project.
The base bid, according to Montgomery, represents the very basic work that needs to be repaired and corrected within the sewer system in order for it to be functional, while the second “alternate” bid represents those corrections that are not needed for the central functioning of the sewer.
“The first bid is to do what’s basically needed to get it functioning. The second part is an alternate. It is if we want to correct those marginal things. And, if we don’t correct the marginal things, we’re taking the risk on that. We might need more maintenance on that part,” Montgomery said. “The regular maintenance might be a little bit more [with the base bid], but, in doing that, we have the funds available that will be escrowed into an account — a maintenance account — to take care of the maintenance issues should they arise.”
The bid packets received by the commission were from Southern Ohio Trenching of Ironton, Ohio, and Fields Excavating of Kitts Hill, Ohio.
The base bid presented by Southern Ohio Trenching was $455,335.70 with a 150 day expected completion date. The alternate bid presented was $1.985 million with a 365 day completion date.
Fields Excavating’s base bid totaled $1.011 million with a 180-day completion date. No alternate bid was provided by this contractor.
According to Montgomery, if the commission decides to proceed with the base bid and quickly advance to get the system operational while taking the risk associated with that decision, the monetary figures represented in the base bid do not encompass the full cost that will be associated with the basic reconstruction.
Montgomery reported that the base bid represents the work on the sewer lines that needs to be completed before the system can become operational. Additional work outside of that bid, including work on the “lateral” lines that connect to the sewer lines at each residence will be added to the figure as a fee stipulated in the base bid and will be taken on a case-by-case basis. Reclamation of property and other work will also be treated in a similar manner.
“That base bid will more than double to get everything done because some of the things, say, reclaiming of the yards, is not part of that number — that will be additional — and we don’t know what those quantities will be,” Montgomery said.
“This is not the full cost — what we are seeing here today. There are other issues there that will be addressed and will be paid for from this settlement we have received,” he stated
On October 5, the county commission received a $3.5 million check from the Fidelity and Deposit Company of Maryland — the former contractor’s bonding company — for the repair and completion of the sewer project.
Negotiations for the completion of the project began after the original contract for the sewer was terminated with Trimat Construction, Inc., in January of this year.
After termination, the project was turned over to the former contractor’s bonding company for completion.
A letter issued to property owners affected by the Kanauga-Addison Sewer Project on September 20 states that the $3.5 million received by the commission will allow for “adequate funding for project completion.”
With the tendering of the check, the bonding company relinquished its responsibility for the completion of the project — handing that responsibility to the county commission.
Reportedly, in the time since the termination of the original contract, the bonding company hired an outside company to “camera” and clear the entire gravity collection system in order to discover the areas of the project that need replaced.
Work on the three pump stations that serve the sewer system has also been ongoing, and, according to Gallia County Administrator Karen Sprague, two of those pump stations are currently up and running, while the third in still in need of repairs.
The entire system reportedly consists of 60,000 linear feet of sewer line, and there is approximately 13,000 feet of that line that will need to be reconstructed as it does not meet project specifications.
Sprague further reported that, in the coming months, work on the project will be completed in stages and will allow residents in the most southern regions to connect first to the sewer.
“We are still going to stagger the work so we can get Kanauga people hooked up and then Georges Creek and then Addison,” Sprague said.
While completion of the project could be expected as early as the summer of next year if the commission decides to move forward with the base bid, Montgomery cautioned that the commission will need to analyze their options in more detail before making any final decision.
As represented in the bid packets, if the contractor utilizes the alternate bid, the entire system would not be operational for another year.
“We’re getting everything analyzed and we’re going to take a good look at it and see what we feel is going to be the best approach to this,” Montgomery said. “This gives us two scenarios to develop a decision on: If we take the lower bid, we’re going to accept a little more risk and we will take the money that we have left and we will escrow it into an account to take care of those things; or, if we go ahead and do the full-blown thing at this time, whichever.”
On November 15, the two bid packets received by the commission were turned over to the project engineer, Gary Silcott of Stantec Engineering, for review.
During a meeting held on Tuesday due to the Thanksgiving holiday, Commissioners Montgomery and Joe Foster, along with Commissioner-elect Brent Saunders, who was present during the meeting, entered executive session to discuss the contract for the project with the low bidder, Southern Ohio Trenching, and the project engineer. Commissioner Lois Snyder was absent during the meeting.
Following executive session, Montgomery reported that further analysis is needed before the commission could decide how to proceed with the project.
“We’ve discussed the project at length with the low bidder, and all parties involved, and we’ve looked at the base bid and the alternate bid, and, at this time, we haven’t made a decision yet,” Montgomery said. “We wanted to have just a little bit of time to digest what our recommendations are from our engineer.”
Upon questioning, Montgomery reported that, by next week’s meeting, the commission should make a decision as to whether they will proceed with the base bid or the alternate bid for the reconstruction and completion of the sewer.
“Our next regular meeting will be in nine or 10 days — it will be on Thursday. We will definitely make a decision at that time to accept or reject the alternate or base bid,” Montgomery stated. “There are just a lot of variables to digest here.”
Foster concurred with his fellow commissioner and stated that further discussion is needed.
“I think we need to discuss it with our fellow commissioner [Lois Snyder]. We need to have chance to talk more with Brent [Saunders] about it and I think we also need to talk to the funding agency about where they want us to go,” Foster said. “I think we probably should get some feedback through them.”