Council accepts sewer rehab bid for ‘fish streets’

Atmore City Council members gave unanimous approval during their Monday (July 24) meeting to a bid for renovation and replacement where necessary of the sewer system that runs beneath three city streets.

The 5-0 vote, on the meeting’s only agenda item, came after Paul Darnell of Southern Engineering Solutions said the firm recommended awarding the bid to Mississippi-based Suncoast Infrastructure Inc., which submitted the lowest among four bids opened by city officials on July 19.

The work will be done on the antiquated sewer system that serves Short Street, Bream Street and Trout Street, some of which has been in place for more than 80 years.

“We took bids last Wednesday on the CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) project, which is basically a sewer rehabilitation project for … everybody calls it the ‘fish streets’ … that’s the area we’re working in.”

The $394,960 bid, the engineer explained, was below the amount budgeted for the project, allowing a cushion for any unexpected snags that might develop as the project progresses.

“We had a base bid and two additive alternates, and even with the additive alternates, the price was $394,960. Our budget is $446,970, so we’re under budget by about $52,000,” he said. “With a sanitary sewer rehabilitation project, you never know what might come up until you start digging and getting into it, so we’ve got some money to work with what may come up.”

He said all documents pertaining to the bid have been sent to the engineer for Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, from which the grant was issued, and the engineer has given “tentative approval.” He also noted that Kenny Smith, manager of West Escambia Utilities, “is OK with the contractor.”
Darnell pointed out that the contractor has a reputation for quality work.

“Suncoast Infrastructure has done a prior project in the city, and we’ve worked with them on a number of projects, and I would recommend awarding the bid to the lowest bidder,” he said. “Any other recommendation, we’d have a heck of a time trying to justify.”

Of the four bids received, one was “close to” the Suncoast bid, but the other two were significantly higher, including one that exceeded $1 million, Darnell said.

No time frame was given for the project.

“Once the award resolution is approved, we will start the paperwork, getting all the contracts together, and we’ll go from there,” the engineer said.

Before the meeting was adjourned, Mayor Jim Staff reminded those in attendance that the annual Unity in the Community Festival will be held Saturday at Grace Fellowship Church.

“I’ll be in the dunking booth,” said the mayor, providing an extra incentive for attending the gathering. “This is a very worthwhile cause, so any of you that will support it, I would sure appreciate it.”