Finally, after months and months of planning, engineering, negotiating, document swapping, easement work, meetings, bidding and financial magic, the long-awaited South Phase of the Lovell Water and Sewer Infrastructure project is just about ready to begin.
Wilson Brothers Construction of Cowley was the apparent low bidder after bids were opened on Thursday, Sept. 1, but even that lowest bid was much higher than the engineer’s estimate, Frank Page of DOWL/HKM Engineering revealed in a funding analysis presented at a special meeting last Friday.
Wilson’s bid of $3.6 million was $264,461 higher than the construction estimate, leaving a funding shortfall of $92,272 for construction, plus required contingency funding.
Lovell Clerk/Treasurer Valerie Beal explained that the estimated construction cost was $3,372,033, and Wilson’s base bid came in at $3,602,494, $230,461 over the estimate. With monies the town planned on having for the project from the USDA Rural Utilities Service, the State Loan and Investment Board and the town match, including a contingency amount of $172,189, the budget shortfall for the base bid was $58,272, and when a $34,000 storm manholes project outside of the main project is factored in, the budget shortfall reached $92,272.
To make up the difference, the Lovell Town Council voted Friday to allocate $92,242 from the town general fund reserves for the construction shortfall and pledge $344,575 from the town water and sewer fund reserves for contingency.
In a letter Alana Cannon of RUS written Friday seeking to follow that funding route, Mayor Bruce Morrison cited Wilson’s excellent record of staying within the budget and avoiding change orders in the last two phases of the water and sewer project.
By Tuesday’s regular September council meeting, Page reported that RUS had approved the funding method and it was his recommendation to approve the Wilson bid of $3,636,494.58. Councilman Brian Dickson made the motion to approve the bid from Wilson and authorize the mayor to sign all documents relative to the bid.
Page said he would present a notice of award to Wilson Brothers and once contract documents are approved by RUS, a pre-construction conference will be held and construction will begin. Page said he hopes construction can begin in early October.
In another construction related topic, the council heard from Lovell Inc. Director Sue Taylor that cost-cutting on the incubator building remodeling project to pave the way for an unanticipated repair of the floor has worked, so much so that now there is some extra funding available to “put back” some of the items chopped from the project, although not all items are available at this stage of construction.
She presented the council with a second change order, which follows the earlier floor repair change order and details the savings made to allow the floor to be shored up, from removing roof insulation from the project to minor items like awnings, a floor drain and window woodwork. She did say that she has received a request to leave two awnings on the east side of the building to make it look more complete.
After detailing all of the financial numbers for the council, she said she would later come back with a change order to restore some items cut earlier.
Given a choice, Councilmen Dickson, Kevin Jones and Bruce Wolsey said they prefer to see insulation restored in the roof. Taylor said insulation could be blown in between two levels of roofing.
Taylor also said contractor Pryor Mountain Construction needs some additional time to finish the work, having been delayed by the slow arrival of some shipped material. She asked that the substantial completion date be moved to Oct. 3.
The council voted to authorize the mayor to sign change order number two and extend the substantial completion date. Later, the council also approved a letter to the Wyoming Business Council extending the “construction service completion date” from Sept. 30, 2011, to March 31, 2012.
In a third construction related item Tuesday, the council approved a final “reconciliation” change order for the water tank painting project in the amount of $1,458.
In an action item handled last Friday, the council voted to allow open burning in the town limits from Sept. 1 through Dec. 31. Beal explained that the burning period fit the Wyoming Dept. of Environmental Quality setback waiver and also allows for some needed Firewise projects along the Globe Canal to proceed throughout the fall and into early winter.
By David Peck