Saturday, August 18, 2012
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City prepares to approve infrastructure and sewer projects

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[August 18, 2012]  The city of Lincoln has several infrastructure projects included in this new budgeted fiscal year.

On July 24 Lisa Kramer, Darren Forgy and Matthew Miller of Prairie Engineers performed their first duties as interim city engineers when they opened bids for three large street projects.

The projects are a reconstruction job on Lincoln Avenue from North Logan to College; repairing bridge approaches over Brainard's Branch on Jefferson, State and Palmer; and removing the Oglesby Avenue bridge.

Three firms bid for the Lincoln Avenue project with bids ranging from $300,026.98 to $363,291.02. Kramer told the council all three bids were under the cost projected by the city engineer.

For the demolition of the Oglesby Street bridge, there were five bids ranging from $68,012.03 to $100,300. All of the bids were over the estimated cost of $55,000.

For the work on bridge approaches, four firms offered bids ranging from $31,259.66 to $56,103.05. The council was told that the estimated cost was $50,000.

After the bids were opened, the new engineers said they would review the bid packets for compliance with the specifications and report back to the city with a recommendation the next week.

Alderwoman Marty Neitzel asked that the items be included in the voting agenda for Aug. 6. However, when the items came to a vote last week, Neitzel asked that the motions be tabled.

This week Forgy opened bids for work to be done on the sewer lines on Union Street. The project will be a slip lining of 900 feet of sewer line on north Union Street. The slip lining process will involve sliding a new flexible sewer line inside the existing line, which is deteriorating.

The city plans on doing this project now, and in the next fiscal year approving a plan to resurface North Union.

When Forgy opened the first bidder's envelope, he immediately noted that no bid bond was included in the packet. As he moved on to the second one, he found no bid bond there either and then did a quick review of the bid specifications. He told the council that a bid bond had not been required for this project by the city of Lincoln.

Three firms offered bids on the project, with dollar figures ranging from $58,455 to $99,750. Forgy said all three bids were well under the $160,000 engineer-estimated cost.

When Forgy finished, Mayor Keith Snyder asked if the project could go on next week's voting agenda. Forgy said that it could, but he wanted to contact the bidders about the lack of a bid bond. He said some changes might have to be made because of that.

Later in the meeting, Marty Neitzel, who chairs the streets and alley committee, said she'd like to call a committee meeting for Aug. 28 at 6:15 p.m. She said the purpose of the meeting would be to discuss the bids opened on July 24. She gave no indication as to why the bids needed to be discussed but simply said there were some changes that needed to be made.

In a related issue, Snyder told the council he had received a letter from Gov. Pat Quinn's office stating that the city of Lincoln would once again be receiving some windfall cash through the motor fuel tax.

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The state will distribute funds totaling approximately $100 million statewide this year from that tax. Lincoln's share will come to $66,743 and should arrive in October.

The money does not have to be spent in this fiscal year.

Snyder said there would be two more years of this special distribution.

At last week's meeting, the council also voted to approve the purchase of new equipment for the waste treatment plant.

David Kitzmiller of American Water/EMC was on hand to explain the project. The waste treatment plant is in need of a new transfer pump and a new blower. He said the equipment could be purchased and installed by Illinois Electrical Works for $120,788.

The city will, however, receive a rebate for the purchase in the amount of $75,900 through the Ameren Illinois Act on Energy program. Kitzmiller said the money from Ameren would be paid within 45 days of the completion of the project.

Because the sewer department is still suffering cash-flow issues, the money to pay the bill will be borrowed from the city's general obligation bond. When the $75,900 arrives, it will immediately be paid to the bond, with the balance being paid in monthly installments from sewer collections.

Neitzel was asked how long it would take to pay back all the money, and she indicated that it should all be paid before the end of this fiscal year.

Kitzmiller also told the group that with the new energy-efficient equipment, the city will save an estimated $66,000 a year in electric costs at the waste treatment plant.

The decision to go forward with Kitzmiller's plan had to be voted upon. It passed unanimously.

This week, waste treatment plant manager Darrell Palmer, along with Neitzel, told the council there was a slight change in the plans for the new equipment.

Because the rebate is more than $50,000, Ameren will have to treat it as a grant, which would delay the payment by several months. However, the project can be broken into two parts, which would drop each rebate below the $50,000 mark.

There was no action needed on this. It was offered to the council simply to keep them up-to-date with the activities at the waste treatment plant.


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