By JOHN SPEER
CENTRAL IOWA PRESS
TOLEDO - It ended up with a vote of 3-2 to accept the low bid totaling $4,792,000 for construction of a new waste water treatment plant for Toledo. Toledo Council members Pete Zmolek, Skip Wilson and Duane Pansegrau voted in favor. Kyle Chaska and Dan Ferris voted no.
As a result, WRH Inc., South Amana, was awarded the contract. Bids had been opened on March 26. Other bidders included: Story Construction, $5,288,000; C.L. Carroll Inc., $5,306,995; and Knutson Construction, $5,345,000.
It was not opposition to the project itself but the method of payment for the work which appeared to prompt Chaska and Ferris to vote no. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is requiring the city replace the present waste treatment plant. It has continued to operate under scrutiny for at least five years according to city officials.
City Attorney Nancy Burk said a representative of Dorsey and Whitney, the city bonding company, had not submitted specific details on April 10 as had been promised. Burk said it was only known general obligation bonds, revenue bonds or a combination could be used to finance the city's approximate $2.9 million share of the plant cost. Federal and state grants and loans are expected to make up the rest of the cost.
"I can't vote to award a contract before we know how we're going to pay (for it)," Chaska said.
Following the roll call vote, Ferris expressed his concerns again.
"I can't believe we awarded (this) contract," he said. "We just awarded a $3 million contract and don't have lined up how we're going to pay for it. Unbelievable."
At earlier meetings, council members have wrestled with the issue of the burden of what could be an added $37 monthly cost for each water-sewer account in the city to pay for the improvements. Concern for fixed-income residents and the length of the re-payment term have surfaced.
"We can't put $37 on water bills," Ferris said Monday night, calling for more time to study options.
In recommending the council proceed, Stoklasa pointed to time restrictions for honoring the bids. Earlier he had said a favorable bidding "climate" existed, something which might not once federal stimulus money becomes available.
Council members also noted they were awaiting word from the Tama County Solid Waste Commission or its engineer about disposal of leachate from the landfill north of Toledo. Leachate is liquid which is produced at landfill sites and must be disposed of through a treatment system.
It has been proposed to pipe leachate from the landfill to the Toledo treatment plant if an agreed upon cost can be determined.
Also during Monday's meeting, the council agreed to accept bids for the former Toledo Police station on South County Road (U.S. 63) and West Carlton Street. Members stressed buyers must be aware the property is zoned residential.
Bids will be accepted until noon on May 11 in the office of City Clerk Carolyn Brownfield.
The police station was replaced by a former bank building located on West High Street in 2005.