West Pelzer sewer bid $1.1 million over estimate

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Five years later

By Stan Welch

The bids, or bid, for the West Pelzer second phase of the sewer project was opened Tuesday morning, with officials from the town, the project’s managers, Dunn Engineering, the Rural Development Authority (RDA) and the bidder present.

There was only one bid on the project. Dillard Construction Company ‘s bid was $2,179,815 for the base project. But there is an additional segment to the project which will have to be completed in order to satisfy ReWa’s requirements for the town’s contract to send their wastewater to the new ReWa plant for treatment.

That smaller segment, consisting of approximately thirty per cent of the entire project, was bid at $1,259,466, for a total of $3,439,481 for the total construction. The amount exceeds the total budgeted for the project originally.

Part of the problem is that the project was originally designed five years ago; and while the figures were set to absorb a possible twenty per cent increase in costs of materials over the two years that was anticipated to pass before the second phase began, the additional three year delay allowed costs to rise well beyond the anticipated increases.

Debbie Green, who was on hand representing RDA, reminded everyone that the base budget of approximately $2 million was reserved for the town’s use, but the additional amount needed might be more difficult to obtain, if the town chooses to request the additional funding. The option exists for the town to rebid the project; but Bill Dunn stated that the bid from Dillard was on target and fair. “There is no reason to think we would do any better if we rebid, even if we attracted additional bidders.”

Green said the main issue for the town is the matter of the available ratio of grant money to loan funds. “Each state receives a certain amount of grant money to distribute, and I’m simply not sure of how much is still available right now. Loan money, of course, is always available, but the ratio is important for small towns.”

Both Green and Dunn agreed that the town should make their decision on whether to seek additional funds, which seems the likely path, in order to expedite the project. The monthly Town Council meeting is scheduled for next Monday, and the matter will almost certainly be on the agenda.

If all goes well, construction should start within sixty days.