The group, in their second called meeting so far this year, reviewed bids for the project – frequently called the “Highland Project” by the members of the board, though it consists of a large number of general improvements to the entire water system in addition to taking in some area in the Highland area.
Engineer Charles Summerford was on hand to present the bids and make a recommendation, and said that there were five bids received from eight qualified contractors contacted. He noted that the two lowest bids, of $2,033,884.22 from J & R Construction of Palestine, AR and $2,035,249.75 from RBIS of Texarkana, were both very close to each other.
He ultimately recommended the lower bid, saying that he had worked with the company on several projects, including a multi-year project for a municipality, and felt that they could best do the job for a good price.
Part of the system upgrade will include the ability to operate 90 percent of the system normally even in the event of a long-term power outage with the use of only two generators, Summerford explained. It would also have redundant supply lines to Howard Memorial Hospital in case of a line breakage, he reported.
The board unanimously accepted the bid, and board president Mark Dowdy reported that the Thompson Trucking depot north of Nashville had agreed to be a staging point for the pipe and other materials to be used in the project. He also cautioned that the pumps to be used in the project would have to be custom made, and would not begin manufacture for at least three months. He estimated that pumps would be placed sometime this fall.
Dowdy also talked to the group about including extensions to the water system, including Wildrose Ln. near Tollette, an area near Highway 371 and Longview Rd and an area near McCaskill close to CR 494. He reported that the proposed line at Wildrose Ln. would take in seven homes and multiple agricultural taps at a cost of around $71,000. The other two proposed extensions he noted as each taking in about nine to 12 potential customers.
The board voted to make the extension along Wildrose Ln., but did not take any action on the other two proposed extensions.