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 Carthage Accepts Bids for Water Improvement Project

September 5, 2007 - The Carthage Town Council voted last week to approve bids from three companies wanting to do work on the town's proposed water improvement project.

John Query, an engineer with Hannum Wagle & Cline, Indianapolis, provided the council with a written summary of the bids received for the three different aspects of the water improvement project. Following Query's recommendations, the council approved bids from Mitchell & Stark Construction (Medora), Dave O'Mara Contractors, Inc. (North Vernon) and Caldwell Tanks, Inc. (Louisville).

Two of the three bids approved by the council were the lowest received for their respective parts of the project. Of the six bids for installing a new well field and new water treatment facility, Mitchell & Stark's bid of $885,053.31 came in $84,314.19 less than the second lowest proposal. Caldwell Tank's price of $360,000 to demolish and remove an existing 100,000 gallon water storage tank and replace it with a new 150,000 gallon tank was $43,602 and $254,300 less than the other two bids received.

The lowest of nine bidders on the third aspect of the project, improvements to the town's water distribution system, was Johannigman Excavating (Osgood), which quoted a price of $851,000. However, Query said Johannigman claimed to have made an error resulting in a bid that was $120,000-$150,000 less than it should have been, and requested permission to withdraw their offer. At Query's urging, the council agreed to accept the second highest bid, which was $1,141,420.25 from Dave O'Mara Contractors. Query's written summary noted that Mitchell & Stark's bid for the new well field and water treatment facility had been 33-percent higher than his engineering firm's estimate. However, the total bids were nearly five percent below what had been anticipated, due to Dave O'Mara's and Caldwell's bids on the water distribution system and the new water storage tank coming in, respectively, 27 percent and nine percent lower than anticipated.

The town was awarded a Community Focus Fund grant for this project in May from the state's Office of Community and Rural Affairs that will be worth $500,000-$525,000. The council's approval of the three bids at last week's meeting is contingent on the town obtaining additional funding in the form of a $1.6 million loan and a $478,200 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Office of Rural Development.

According to a projected timeline prepared by the town's grant writers, work on the water project could begin as early as January and be completed by next November. The project is expected to result in a lower risk of well contamination by nitrates and a reduction in the amount of water now lost through leaks at an average rate of 77,000 gallons a day.

The Carthage Town Council will hold a public hearing on the town's proposed 2008 budget at Carthage Town Hall, 6 W. First St., Saturday, September 8, at 8 a.m. The council is expected to vote on adoption of the budget during a special meeting scheduled for 8 a.m. on Saturday, September 22.


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