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David City Council tables OK of water plant project bid

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City office

Pictured is the city office for David City, 490 E Street.

Further action on the City of David City’s water plant update has been placed on hold.

The David City Council at its regular meeting Jan. 11 tabled accepting the low bid for the project. The project would improve the 40-year-old water plant facility by transitioning to a reverse osmosis water softening system, as well as make treatment, building and electrical improvements.

The city had received just two bids on the project, despite JEO Consulting Group having sent bid solicitations to about 180 contractors and vendors.

Ethan Joy of JEO said many of the companies indicated they were too busy or were having trouble locating subcontractors.

“As everything is right now, it (the bids) came in high,” Joy said. “We had two bids for a little over $10 million. Both bids were very close together. This kind of indicates to me that this is the value of the project.”

Joy added the cost of materials and inflation factors resulted in the bids exceeding the engineer’s opinion of cost. In April 2022, the estimated cost had been $6.6 million.

The two companies who bid on the project were Velocity Constructors Inc. out of Englewood, Colorado, and Walters-Morgan Construction Inc. out of Manhattan, Kansas.

As for the funding of the project, the state is offering roughly $6.1 million to $6.3 million in grant money, Joy said. He added the city has the opportunity to receive some additional grant money if it opts to repaint the water tower, hence the range provided.

“The remainder of that (project cost) will be loan, a little over $5 million at 1% interest over 20 or 30 years depending on the project,” Joy said.

According to Joy, the contractor will have nearly two years to get the project completed, mainly due to supply chain issues. Once the contract is awarded, he noted, not much will physically be seen for about six or nine months as the materials will be reviewed and orders put in.

Second Ward Council Member Kevin Woita asked if the city's water supply would be impacted if the water plant upgrades are not complete in time for when Ag Processing Inc.’s new soybean facility is operating.

“Your water plants are rated for almost two, two and a half million gallons a day. Your average water use now is about 500 to 600,000 gallons a day, AGP wants half a million. We have over a million buffer with your current facility,” Joy said.

Woita voiced that he wants to see more discussion with the city council and the public before proceeding with the project. City Attorney David Levy said there is one more council meeting – Jan. 25 – before the bids expire, so a bid could be approved at the next meeting.

In other business, the council approved a city-use cell phone stipend for council members.

“It was brought up that some council members would like to have a different phone number versus their regular phone number for city purposes. It was brought up a $50 stipend per month,” Mayor Jessica Miller said.

It was noted that council members did not have to opt-in if they did not want to.

Third Ward Council Member and Council President Bruce Meysenburg said the concern of council members using their personal phones stems from electronic communication, including texts and emails, regarding the city can be considered public information.

The David City Council also:

  • Appointed Jim Angell to fill a vacancy in the first ward. The vacancy was left by Miller when she was sworn into office as mayor last month.
  • Appointed Marla Schnell as a code enforcement officer. The position will be a permanent part-time job at 20 hours a week.
  • Held discussion on a sidewalk project on O Street. It would cost roughly $78,000 and a sidewalk – to be placed along the curb – would be on one side of the street. Residents shared concerns over spending that much money on a sidewalk when they think sidewalks are not really used, logistics of the sidewalk project and the redoing of O Street in general and a lack of communication regarding being notified of projects before they start. Miller said the concerns and sidewalk project plans will be further considered.
  • Approved a resolution allowing $100,000 of Nebraska Public Power District’s production cost adjustment reimbursement to be distributed monthly to David City power residents in 2023.

Hannah Schrodt can be reached at hannah.schrodt@lee.net.

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