Thursday, May 24, 2018
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Sewer repair bids less than engineering estimates

Council decides to do complete project; some work to be completed by year’s end and rest in 2015.

It didn’t take the Gothenburg City Council very long on May 6 to decide to do the whole works when it comes to sewer improvements.

Weighing in on the decision was that the combined bid of $1,642,169, from two different companies, was 19% ($381,001) lower than expected.

Engineering estimates totaled $2,023,170 to repair existing and install new city sewer in areas throughout the city.

Two area companies bid on the project and their prices, and completion dates are as follows:

VanKirk Bros. Contracting, Inc. of Sutton, $1,366,935, with completion by June 1, 2015

Midlands Contracting, Inc., Kearney, $275,234, with completion by Dec. 15.

City engineer Travis Mason said the low bid from VanKirk was 19.5% below the engineer’s opinion of probable cost and the Midlands bid was 15% to 17% below the probable construction cost.

Initially, council members bid two projects separately in case bids were high on an estimated $1.7 million phase of the project.

New sewer would be installed, in that part of the project, from the wastewater treatment plant to 10th Street and west to Avenue G.

During the meeting, council member Duane Oliver said the lower bid prices eased the burden and he would support doing the entire project.

Council members have agreed over the last few years that something needed to be done to fix aging infrastructure, causing troublesome problems like groundwater seepage into cracked and broken pipe.

In addition, heavy rain events have caused some basements to flood resulting in lawsuits against the city and too much flow through the wastewater treatment plant.

A third sewer line under the railroad tracks will help flow.

“We need to do it,” Jeff Whiting said.

A low-interest $100,000 loan from the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality will help with costs.

In fact, city administrator Bruce Clymer said average customer costs could increase about $1 per month to pay for the project.

In other action, the council passed an ordinance that makes police chief Randy Olson the hearing officer to hear complaints by citizens who have been asked to eliminate public nuisances such as too-tall grass, weeds, etc.

The city council has been the hearing officer and three people make up the board of health that determines public nuisances throughout the city.

Council president Jeff Kennedy, mayor Joyce Hudson and city physician Dr. Craig Bartruff are members of the board of health.

City attorney Mike Bacon said the change was required by state statute.

On another matter, council members decided to support a request by resident Kristy Connolly to help buy and install a slide at Ehmen Park for toddlers.

Connolly was asked to do some fund raising and told that the council would try and set aside some money in the 2015 budget.

In other business, the council:

passed, on final reading, an ordinance that would require rapid-entry key systems for industrial, commercial and other non-residential structures to aid the fire department when responding to fires or other emergencies.

renewed the city’s employee health insurance with Corporate Plan Management and decided to support the side fund (for high-dollar claims) at 100%.

The overall increase in premiums is 3.64% which local insurance agent Dan Yancy said was good.

amended a grant with the NDEQ that adds $130 for alum treatment of Lake Helen to keep phosphorous from recycling from the lake bottom after the lake is reconstructed.

granted a request for a special license for alcohol to be served at the fire hall during the Firemen’s Ball on June 7.

learned the city will receive a $500 grant from the State of Nebraska for mosquito control.

heard that the availability of large dumpsters at the city shop for residents to deposit unwanted items went well during Clean City Week and that 29 dumpster loads were taken away.

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