Village finds irregularity in sewer bids
by By Ryan Ottney
Ryan Scott Ottney
PDT Staff Writer
The New Boston Village Council held a special meeting on Monday to discuss the bids on their sewer project. Council decided at their regular meeting on Sept. 17 to award a $2.6 million bid to Fields Excavating of Kitts Hill, Ohio, following public meeting and council readings. Late last week the village called for a special meeting after they discovered an irregularity in the bidding process. After emerging from an executive session on Monday, council voted to accept a resolution to rebid the project.
According to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), they began sending letters to the village in 2005 asking for a long-term sewer control plan that would divide the village’s current combined sewer system into two separate lines — one sewer line and one storm water line. Chief among their concerns is the village’s combined sewer overflows (CSO), which is what occurs when too much water and sewage flow through the sewer lines. When that happens, the excess flow will bypass the two pump stations and dump into the river. The EPA is also concerned about instances of overflows happening inside people’s basements.
The agency sent a letter to the village in February stating they would impose fines for the period of 2004-09 while the village sewers were not in compliance. Village Solicitor Justin Blume said the EPA agreed to stay those fines as long as the village is making progress to resolve the issues, which the village reports they are.
The project was bid for three phases; the Base Bid (storm sewer separation work from Munn’s Run to Harrisonville Avenue), Alternative A (on Rhodes Avenue, from Harrisonville to Glenwood Avenue), and Alternative B (from Rhodes Avenue, up Glenwood Avenue). Six companies bid on the village project, but one bid — from J&H Reinforcing and Structural Erectors of Portsmouth — was incomplete and rejected.
Of the remaining bids, the village decided on Sept. 17 to proceed with the Base Bid and Alternative A work only, for which Fields Excavating submitted a total bid of $2,639,903.80. Council agreed it would be better to complete sewer work beneath Rhodes Avenue as soon as possible, before the state of Ohio repaves the road in 2015. They had planned to rebid work for Alternative B at a later time, hoping to save money on the final project.
After voting to bring a resolution forward to award the bid to Fields Excavating, the village last week called for a special meeting to discuss an irregularity in their bid process. Council members met Monday evening and adjourned into executive session to discuss the issue in private. Upon returning to open meeting, council voted to throw out their bids and rebid the entire project
New Boston Maor James Warren would not comment for the reason they needed to rebid, citing only an “irregularity” in the bid process. Village Solicitor Justin Blume also would not comment, but said the rebidding process should not delay the project — which was scheduled to begin in December or January and take 10 months to complete.
Ryan Scott Ottney may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Ryan on Twitter @PDTwriter.
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