Fire loop gets more city study

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, May 8, 2002

New bids for a fire loop water system improvement at WhitworthCollege were received Tuesday, but funding questions are preventingcity officials from awarding a contract for the work.

“In all good conscious, I cannot recommend awarding the contractright now,” said engineer Jeff Green in discussing the projectduring last night’s meeting.

In March, aldermen rejected a single bid on the project andvoted to re-advertise in an effort to get more and better pricequotes. Following a bid opening April 30, Greenbriar DiggingService was once again the low bidder with a bid of $949,732.

Green said the new bid was about $2,000 less than the first onefrom Greenbriar. However, Green said he could not recommend thecity approving the contract.

“I need to dive more into the funding and see where we are,”Green said.

The project was originally estimated at around $635,000, Greensaid, but some other work was added since the estimate was made.The engineer said those included some line stops for better waterflow control and service lines that run under city streets toconnect to water meters.

To fund the work, the city has received a $462,000 federal grantspecifically for the fire loop. The city has also received a $1million federal appropriation for Whitworth-related campusimprovements and storm water activities.

After accounting for projects already funded with the $1 millionappropriation, including a storm water drainage project, engineerDerrick Tucker told city officials in March that they would needabout $251,000 for the fire loop project with the current bid.

However, since then, Tucker has left Engineering Associates, andGreen said he needed to contact him to discuss the project. Greensaid he needed to know exactly how much money is remaining, and hewould have a better idea after talking with Tucker and followingcompletion of the storm water project in the near future.

Green said the four bids received this time ranged from the lowto $1.026 million. He said the bid range verified that the bidreceived earlier was accurate.

“I think what you’ve got is a fair bid given where they’reworking,” Green said. “This is a very tough area to work in.”

The project includes work on West Cherokee Street, MonticelloStreet, West Congress Street, Whitworth Avenue and some other citystreets.

Mayor Bill Godbold said more grant money could be available tohelp fund the project, but he would have to talk with City EngineerCarl Ray Furr about that. Officials stressed the importance of thefire loop project in connection with the Mississippi School of theArts that is locating on the Whitworth campus.

“If you’re going to run Whitworth College, you’ve got to havethat fire loop in,” the mayor said.

Green said Greenbriar’s bid could be held for 60 days. Afterthat, the contractor could be asked to extend the time period forawarding the bid at the quoted price.

Green also updated officials on other city projects.

Work on a Second Street paving project is virtually complete andstorm drain work on First Street should begin in about two weeks.With the current good weather, Green said he has reminded thecontractor the clock is ticking on completion the project ontime.

Regarding a Field Lark Lane sewer project, Green said allgravity lines that can be installed have been. He said a hold-outproperty owner whose land is needed has been informed of the city’sneeds but has not yet responded.

Green said he is focusing on developing plans for a road toservice a new industry, EPCO, that has located in the industrialpark. A temporary road has been installed, and Green said about amonth’s worth of work will be needed to pave the road once plansare ready, which should be soon.

“We should be in pretty good shape by the end of this month,”Green said.