$2.7 M bid accepted for Oronogo’s sewer improvement project

The wait for construction of Oronogo’s major sewer improvement project to begin is nearly over.

On Monday, the Oronogo Board of Aldermen voted unanimously for Mayor Charles Wilkins to sign the notice of award for the contract with G & G Construction, of Carthage, pending approval of the bid process by USDA Rural Development.

Project engineer Eric DeGrussen, of Allgeier, Martin and Associates, has confirmed that G & G’s bid of $2,737,000 is the apparent low bid. Two other bids were opened on May 4. DeGrussen’s estimate was $2,300,000.

The need for the citywide sewer system to have more capacity has been obvious as the city’s population has grown.

In 2016, the vote was 626-375 to issue $2 million in revenue bonds to pay for the project.

But the project was stalled in the summer of 2020 when only one bid, in the amount of $3,287,270. It was determined that the initial design required deep digging that increased cost and decreased the number of bidders willing or capable to do the job.

“We’re in a pickle,” said then mayor pro tem Jason Grossman, because:

• Accepting the bid would require the city finance an additional $1,442,270 loan.

• The city was anticipating the construction of 700 new houses, which would exceed the existing sewer system’s capacity.

The board of aldermen rejected the bid and changed engineers to come up with a design that doesn’t require digging so deep for the main connecting the city to the Center Creek 201 Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Constructing two replacement lift stations is the most costly portion of the job.

In other action, the board:

• Approved spending up to $600 for new backstop netting at the diamond in the city park.

• Scheduled work sessions to plan the 2022-23 budget, which takes effect July 1.

• Approved an amended contract with building inspector Joel Beck.

• Approved a contract extension to maintain the supply of natural gas during the transition before Spire Energy takes over operation of the system.