Monday, July 23rd, 2007
By Timothy Cox
Second bids are at lower amounts
  A second round of bidding proved successful in lowering the construction price for Celina's planned water treatment system improvements.
Bids opened last week showed the overall price tag was reduced by about $1.5 million from a disastrous first round of bidding that yielded a total price of $7.5 million - about 67 percent more than original engineering estimates.
Peterson Construction, Wapakoneta, was the low bidder this round with a quote of $6,035,000, for the entire project. Kirk Brothers, Alvada, bid about $6.6 million for the work. Three other firms submitted bids for only electrical, plumbing or mechanical portions of the job.
City officials changed bid specifications and made other adjustments to lower the costs. The city's engineering firm, Floyd Browne Group, also revised its estimate upward to $6.75 million, from $4.5 million.
The city plans to build a granular activated carbon (GAC) treatment facility that would be added to the city's existing treatment process. The carbon- based filtration is expected to lower the levels of trihalomethanes in the water to within acceptable limits set by the Ohio EPA.
Kent Bryan, the city's development consultant, said he believes city officials will award the construction contract to Peterson. The company has a good local track record and clearly is the low bidder for the work, he said.
The bid numbers will be presented to Celina City Council members at tonight's regular meeting. A committee meeting likely will be scheduled to allow council members the opportunity to thoroughly review the bids and ask any questions, Bryan said.  
The $6 million bid is still about 33 percent higher than original estimates but city officials openly have admitted the original estimates from Floyd Browne Group were badly flawed for a variety of reasons.
"Peterson gave us a good bid. We were able to get the cost down somewhat and one would assume Peterson will get the contract," Bryan said.
It likely will be near the end of summer before any work begins at the site just north of the existing water plant. That is because the city is not scheduled to close on its EPA-backed low-interest loan until late August. City officials then will have to negotiate with EPA officials on a prospective completion date.
The EPA's original findings and orders handed down several years ago gave the city until Nov. 7 of this year to bring its water into compliance. That date has been adjusted to Dec. 31, but the city is unlikely to reach that target.
The EPA had warned the city could face fines of $25,000 per day for missing the deadline. City officials have said they will try to negotiate an extension with EPA officials to avoid the fines.
The water improvements will be financed through the EPA loan and the debt paid down through an anticipated hike in water rates. City officials still have not decided on a formula for the expected rate increase although recently floated the idea of charging everyone in the city an identical flat rate.
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