Georgetown rejects sewer project bids

GEORGETOWN — City officials are asking contractors to review the bids they submitted for some sewer projects, in hopes thatthe costs can be brought more in line with the city's expectations.

Alderman Carl Johnson said on Monday that the city had wanted to make major renovations at the wastewater-treatment plant and to separate many of the combined sewers in the city into separate stormwater sewers and sanitary sewers.

The city's engineers, The Farnsworth Group of Peoria, helped the city to prepare bids for three sewer-related projects — the installation of a new storm sewer along Whittier Street to divert stormwater around the city instead of through the city, the upgrading of equipment at the wastewater-treatment plant, and the repair and cleaning of the wastewater lagoons and the addition of a chlorine basin to lower bacteria levels in the treated wastewater before it is discharged from the plant.

TheIllinois Environmental Protection Agency had agreed to lend Georgetown up to $4.5 million for the projects, and city engineers had estimated the work would cost about $4 million.

Johnson said the city received seven bids for the projects. All seven were within $90,000 of each other, Johnson said, and all seven were around $6.5 million.

"I was shocked," he said.

The Georgetown City Council did not accept any of the bids, and has asked the contractors to look for ways to reduce costs such as doing the work in phases or substituting smaller or less-expensive materials for the projects.

Mayor Kay Sanders said she hopes to have the water and sewer committee review options soon.

In other business, the council approved a $167,800 tax levy for the upcoming year, which will be a little less than 5 percent higher than the current levy.

Alderman Adam Hart said he was part of a group that went to Gifford and Washington, Ill., to help with storm-recovery efforts, and that he wants the city to establish an emergency preparedness committee to help plan how to manage and recover from weather-related events and other types of crisis.

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