East Bethel approves cost share

The East Bethel City Council July 3 approved a preliminary cost share amount of $2,222,560 with the Metropolitan Council Environmental Services for a Castle Towers/Whispering Aspens forcemain from Viking Boulevard to 229th Avenue.

This cost share is based on a third round of bids for the project.

The original bids, received by the city in November 2012, were much higher than had been anticipated, putting the city’s participation in the project at risk.

As a result, the Metropolitan Council rejected those bids and then worked with the city to identify costs that could be eliminated from the city’s portion of the project. This included modifying the project to eliminate the city’s participation in two road crossings and about 1,000 feet of street restoration.

When the Metropolitan Council re-bid the project in February, the city’s share came to $1,964,502.19. However, those bids were rejected as well because of contract issues.

Yet another re-bid on the project in June, by then with some design changes, resulted in a cost share for the city of $2,222,560. Although the council has approved that cost share amount, it had to schedule a special meeting for July 10 to award the contract because of a potential bidder protest that would need to be resolved first.

In addition to the shared-cost project with the Metropolitan Council, the city will have to extend the forcemain from 229th Avenue to the Castle Towers treatment plant and another segment between Klondike Avenue and Sims Road.

This additional work, estimated at $2.7 million, is necessary in order to decommission the Castle Towers waste water treatment plant and extend forcemain sewer service, which will allow the city to save between $4 million and $5 million over the next 30 years, according to City Administrator Jack Davis.

The city will pay for the project with excess bond funds.