By ERIC X. VICCARO
The Ste. Genevieve Board of Aldermen was presented with a small dilemma on Thursday evening.
Cochran Engineering recommended to the city accepting a base bid from MB Construction, LLC, for a water main replacement project on Fourth Street from Biltmore to Roberts Street.
MB Construction was the lowest of six bidders on the project, coming in with a $201,609 price tag.
CE Contracting, of nearby Bloomsdale, furnished the second-lowest bid at $213,263.00 — a gap of nearly $12,000
Several members of the board, including Joe Prince and Bob Donovan, were concerned about using MB Construction since it’s not a local company. It is located in Monticello, Missouri, north of Hannibal and Palmyra.
What’s more, Alliance Water Resources system manager Steve Wilson acknowledged he’s never worked with MB Construction on a water line replacement project before.
“I think staying local has a tangible benefit to us,” Prince said during the meeting.
Ward 4 Alderwoman Ashley Armbruster noted the importance of serving the taxpayers by going with the lowest possible bid provided.
MB Construction has performed water line improvements in Poplar Bluff and Rolla; however, most of their work has centered around northeast Missouri, Iowa, Illinois — and even Kansas.
The water line replacement project included several line items within the bid process, ranging from demobilization, use of 6-inch PVC main, excavation, new fire hydrant assembly, backfill and both concrete and asphalt repair.
In the end, aldermen accepted MB Construction’s bid by a vote of 5-2-1 on both the first and second readings. Prince and Donovan cast the “no” votes. Ward 1 Alderman Gary Smith was absent.
Also in the board packet, in a memo dated from May 14, city administrator Happy Welch reported already purchasing the PVC main needed for this construction.
Dave Van Leer, who was present at Thursday’s board meeting to answer questions on the project, explained there is currently a shortage of available PVC pipe.
PVC prices continue to skyrocket, according to Welch in the memo, and shipments are becoming increasingly limited.
Section 140.050 Emergency Purchasing Procedure allows supplies to be bought with the consent of the mayor, in this case Paul Hassler, and department head if there is an “apparent emergency.”
Wilson, Welch and Hassler agreed to purchase the PVC pipe, through Core and Main, during the middle of last month.