Fairfield Ledger

Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 22, 2017

Council relieved to learn of bid extension

By Andy Hallman, Ledger news editor | May 12, 2017

The Fairfield City Council got some good news Monday night when it learned a contractor will extend a bid past the expiration date.

The past few months have been a rollercoaster of emotion for the city as it tries to find funding to repair its wastewater treatment facility and build an equalization basin for it. The city was expecting the improvements to the wastewater treatment facility to cost about $17.5 million, but the low bid came in $4 million over that.

The United States Department of Agriculture has supplied the city with a subsidized loan of 1.6 percent. However, the bids for the facility improvements and basin have come in $5.2 million over the USDA’s budget.

The city has requested an additional grant or subsidized loan from USDA, but ran into another hurdle because it didn’t know whether the federal government would be funded past April 28. With no funding for the federal government, no one can process Fairfield’s request for additional money.

To make matters worse, the bids the city received for the facility upgrades and equalization basin were set to expire May 15. Could the city afford to approve the bids without a funding source in place? Could it afford to let the bids expire and seek new ones? Those were the questions the council had to ponder.

Ultimately, the council decided to accept a bid for the equalization basin from Carl A. Nelson for $1.3 million. The contractor who gave the city the low bid on the facility improvements, PKG Contracting of Fargo, North Dakota, informed the city that it would extend its bid 90 days at no cost.

At Monday’s city council meeting, Harmon told the councilors what a relief it was that PKG was willing to do that, because the bids would have likely come back higher had the city sent them out again.

Harmon said there is still uncertainty about whether and how long the federal government, including USDA, will be funded. A USDA representative told him they would know by June 26 whether Fairfield would receive additional money for its wastewater treatment facility.

The council decided to delay accepting a bid on the wastewater treatment facility until late June when it hears back from USDA.

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