Kremmling awards water line replacement contract
August 4, 2009
Kremmling town officials awarded a $662,000 water line replacement contract to a Denver company on Monday night as their desire to give the work to a local company was overridden by financial considerations.
Brannan Construction won the bid to replace leaking steel water lines in part of the town after it submitted a bid that was $117,000 lower than the next lowest bid, which was offered by Grant Miller Inc. of Breckenridge.
Trustee Erik Woog said he and other council members were concerned about how the large Front Range company might handle sensitive portions of the project. But the cost differential cannot be ignored, he said.
“Ultimately, we’ve got to do what’s right for the village,” he said.
He and others quizzed Public Works Director Doug Moses about his thoughts on the low bid, which was recommended by an engineering firm hired by the town to examine bids and bidders’ histories.
If Brannan comes in and does a great job with no major incidents, “you’ll be heroes,” he told council.
But, “If you pick the low bidder and they come in here and chop things up , we’re all going to be out looking for work,” he said to laughter among council members and the local contractors in the room.
Town Manager Ted Soltis said not just taxpayers and contractors are watching how the town handles this project, as he noted again that the town paid engineers to establish a professional process to vet the bids.
“I think if we don’t follow that process, I’m going to have quite a bit of trouble getting grants in the future.”
“That’s a legitimate concern,” Woog said.
This phase of the project entails replacing more than 10,000 feet of 6-inch and 4-inch water lines, primarily in Kremmling Country, Soltis said. It is being funded in large part by a $1 million Colorado Department of Local Affairs grant. (The low bid will allow the town to replace more line than originally anticipated.)
The project is scheduled to begin immediately and be completed by mid-November.
Bids for an upcoming project to replace another 10,000 feet of the 6- and 4-inch lines will be solicited in a few weeks, he said. That phase will be funded exclusively by a $2 million federal stimulus grant. It is scheduled to begin Sept. 30 and be completed next spring.
“I’m going to trust our engineers on this,” Trustee Mike Music said, reiterating the concern about jeopardizing current and future grants.
Several trustees, including Woog, noted that if everything else were equal, they would select a local company, but the money they would save on the low bid represents the ability to complete too much additional work to ignore.
“That’s (the cost differential) a third of the way to the extra money we need for the paving,” Mayor Tom Clark said.
Town officials plan to leave some of the streets torn up during the project unpaved until spring in order to replace more water lines.
Before the project began last year, Moses estimated the old pipes were leaking about 60 percent of the town’s treated water into the ground. That’s not only expensive, officials said, it was causing the town water treatment plant to work overtime, accelerating the time frame in which the town would face the costly prospect of replacing the plant.
After further debate, council voted unanimously to accept Brannan’s bid.
Moses said he would press the company for a construction schedule as soon as possible. He said he was going to start going door-to-door today to let people know when the project might be in their neighborhood.
– Drew can be reached at (970) 887-3334 ext. 19600 or at firstname.lastname@example.org