Auxvasse selects contractor for water improvement project

— Auxvasse Board of Aldermen chose Hutchins Telecom LLC as the contractor for the city’s water improvement project. The board of aldermen made the decision at its Aug. 5 meeting after reviewing the five bids the city received for the project with Stephen Lin from Allstate Consultants. Hutchins Telecom, based out of Belle, was the lowest bidder with a bid $219,000 more than the city’s budget for the project. All five bidders listed the project’s cost more than the $1.99 million the city had budgeted for water improvement.

Alderman Terry Walker said he was disappointed with the bids. He said contractors have plenty of work right now, which is part of the reason the bids came in more than the city’s estimated project budget.

“You’re not getting your best (bid) numbers because they’ve got plenty of work and they don’t need it,” Walker said at the Aug. 5 meeting.

Since the bids came in over budget, the board discussed what options it had. Lin said one option could be to borrow more money or to deduct parts of the project to cut the cost of the bid down to what the city had budgeted.

Walker said he would prefer to cut parts of the project rather than borrow more money.

“I want to stay within the budget we told taxpayers we would stay in,” Walker said.

The city has done preliminary work and preparation for the water improvement project for several years now. The project plans call for water mains throughout the city of Auxvasse to be replaced with a focus on water mains in the city’s downtown area. The city’s water well, Well No. 4, will be updated as part of the project. And an additional drinking water well facility, Well No. 5, will be built.

Lin said the city functions on one well facility, Well No. 4. But, a second well is needed as a backup in case well four becomes nonfunctional at any time. Auxvasse used to have a backup well, Well No. 3; however, it has been nonfunctional for many years. The project plan calls for the old nonfunctional well three to be demolished.

As the city prioritizes parts of the project and deducts from it, Lin said the best place to cut from the project are water lines that do not currently serve customers. He also said the demolition of water Well No. 3 can be put off to save money now.

The City Council looked at the project and discussed places it could potentially deduct from the project to lower the project’s cost. Alderman Stephane Leverett said she agreed the best option would be to cut parts of the project over borrowing more money to complete everything.

“I just wish that money would have gone farther,” Leverett said at the meeting.

Construction on the project will start in the next couple months. According to Allstate Consultants’s time line, construction will be finished by June or July of 2015.

Megan Favignano can be reached at (573) 826 2417 or megan@fultonsun.com.

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