Bids too high in Saluda

Published 8:00 am Saturday, October 27, 2018

Council reworks water, sewer project list

SALUDA — The city of Saluda’s capital improvement plan will include one less project, after bids came in too high.

The Saluda City Council held a special meeting Wednesday and discussed the construction bids the city received, which ranged from $1.9 million to $3.1 million.

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City commissioners decided Wednesday to delete the project of replacing water and sewer lines along Columbia Avenue. Commissioners also decided for the city to fund $67,000 of the project and to request an additional $189,000 in loan proceeds.

Saluda was approved for a United States Department of Agriculture loan in the amount of $1.9 million. The expected construction costs of the project were $1.5 million.

City Manager Jon Cannon said there are several reasons the bids came in higher than anticipated. He said the economy is doing fantastic, and there is plenty of work for contractors, so bidders are not hungry.

“Also, material costs have gone up,” Cannon said. “Part of it is the timeframe. When I got here, [the project] was underway and that was in 2015.”

The city plans to complete 11 water and sewer projects with the loan. Water and sewer rate increases have been implemented to pay back the loan.

Cannon said if everything goes off without a hitch, construction could begin in February 2019.

“[Commissioners] approved making the changes and now the engineer is supposed to be contacting the bidder to see if they have a problem with cutting out a project,” Cannon said. “Then they will accept the bid and the bidder.”

Cannon also said he has already spoken with the USDA about borrowing more money, and he does not see any issues with that. The city also has to get approval from the North Carolina Local Government Commission, which Cannon said will hopefully occur in January.

The projects slated include recoating the water tank, Ozone Drive and U.S. 176 water line interconnections, Florida Avenue water and sewer lines, Hart Street water and sewer lines, U.S. 176 sewer lift station replacement, and U.S. 176 water booster pump station upgrade.