East Bethel Council approves cost share

The East Bethel City Council last month unanimously approved spending $1,964,502.19 as its part of a cost share agreement with Metropolitan Council Environmental Services (MCES) to install a force main from Viking Boulevard to 229th Avenue. MCES is the agency administering the city’s water and sewer project on behalf of Metropolitan Council.

The project will connect the city’s rapid infiltration basins (RIBs) behind the ice arena and at 229th Avenue and Highway 65. RIBs are the discharge areas for the sewer effluent that is treated at the wastewater reclamation plant. The treated effluent is supposedly to drinking water standards and infiltrates into the ground just as in a septic system drain field.

The original bids for this portion of the water and sewer project had come in at about $900,000 higher than the city had anticipated in November 2012, putting the city’s participation in the project in jeopardy.

In response to the high bids, city staff worked with MCES to  find a way to reduce the city’s share of costs. The solution they arrived at was to remove a section of the city’s force main line from the MCES project and relocate this to the opposite side of Highway 65, which would simultaneously eliminate the city’s cost share participation in two road crossings and around 1,000 feet of street restoration. According to City Administrator Jack Davis, this relocation saves the city an estimated $400,000, but also makes the city responsible for all construction costs for the connection from 229th to 241st Avenue.

The redefined project was re-bid, with new bids opened Feb. 12. The lowest bid was from S.R. Weidema at $8,423,076.44. The city’s portion will be $1,964,502.19.

The city will seek bids for the portion that is its sole responsibility by April. That part of the project is expected to be constructed simultaneously and to be substantially complete by the end of 2013.