The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

By Joshua Wood
Stevenson Newspapers 

Water we looking at here?

 

January 19, 2023 | View PDF



Sidney City Council discussed two engineering bids for the wastewater treatment facility on January 10. Most notable to the governing body was the discrepancy between the two bids, with one ten times that of the other.

In December 2022, the City of Sidney Wastewater Treatment Facility published a request for engineering qualifications bid regarding the replacement of equipment at the influent pump station. The City received two bids, one from MC Schaff of Scottsbluff and one from Olsson and Associates of Denver, Colorado. When presented with the bids, Councilmember Burke Radcliffe questioned the amounts.

“Are these two bids real? One’s $180,000 (and) one’s $18,000?” asked Radcliffe.

“At the point when we first received those, we actually went back to both firms and asked them for a little bit more focus on what they were doing,” replied Todd Sukup, wastewater superintendent. “When we got both of them it looked, for the most part, apples to apples.”

MC Schaff bid $18,610.00 for the project while Olsson and Associates bid $180,346.00. According to City Manager Todd Scott, a review committee of four people went through both proposals and they were identical.

“We thought maybe one included construction when we didn’t ask for that,” said Scott. “The biggest difference when we looked at these was not so much the money and the amount of hours and the amount of layers that the company has but the start and finish date. MC Shaff could start whenever we wanted them to. Olsson was a little bit further out.”

Prefacing that he was speculating, Scott said he had seen situations before where engineering firms were booked out on jobs, but would still bid on a project on the chance they would be the only one to submit a proposal.

Sukup added to Scott’s comments, clarifying that similar approaches were seen under the American Recovery and Restoration Act of 2009, which included a “Buy American” provision. The requirement in the $787 billion economic stimulus required all public projects funded by the bill to use only goods made in the United States.

While Sukup said he believed both companies would serve the City of Sidney well, one had a price-tag that was “a little harder to swallow.”

A motion to engage with MC Schaff passed 5-0.

The City of Sidney is also engaged with MC Schaff for the Sky Road water line project, which was also on the agenda.

The project will install a primary line to feed the sky manor water system, which currently relies on a single booster pump. When the pump is taken down for repairs, the sky manor water system must be shut down. Adding a primary line will allow the City of Sidney to work on the water system without any service disruption to the residents.

The line will consist of six hundred feet of a six inch water main. The estimated cost of the project is approximately $175,000 with funding coming from the American Rescue Plan Act.

A request to move forward on construction of the project was approved unanimously.

The next meeting of the Sidney City Council will be at 7 p.m on January 24 at Sidney City Hall.

 

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