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Norfolk makes decisions on sewer project labor

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NORFOLK - The town of Norfolk is more than three-quarters of the way done with hiring the necessary help for their long sought after sewer project.

The town board held a special meeting Thursday evening with town engineer Aaron B. Jarvis to go over the opening bids they received on Feb. 11.

There are five components to the project, and therefore five contractors to hire for the job. For contract one, relating to general construction, the town elected to go out for a re-bid, but made decisions on the remaining four components Thursday.

“When we start at the top, the overall project budget is $5,952,550. Inside the budget we have a total construction budget of $5,050,000. Unfortunately, if you take all of the low bids, without the alternates, the bids totaled up to $6,331,500 - so in the ballpark of $1.3 million over budget,” Mr. Jarvis explained.

“The submersible mixers, if we cut those out we save $59,770. I was talking to (Town Supervisor Charles A. Pernice) about this - if we have to cut them, we have to cut them, but it would be actually one of the last things I would want to cut. So as far as priorities go, that one would be at the bottom of the list,” he said.

Mr. Jarvis pointed out that mixers are a major energy-saving item.

While each of the total base bids have some deductions - either through alternates the board chose not to do or items they are moving to get under budget - they did accept low bids for mechanical construction, plumbing construction, electrical construction and collection system rehabilitation.

Those aspects of the project will be completed by Perras Excavating, Inc., Massena; Norwood Plumbing, Inc., Norwood; Watson Electric, Inc., Norwood; and Branon Construction Co., Inc., Plattsburgh, respectively.

The total base bids on those contracts, not including the deductions, were $688,382; $28,700; $405,000; and $1,353,000.

The project involves the construction of a new sewer plant, located on County Route 38 just past West Main Street. The town will also be re-lining all of the sewer mains as part of the project.

Mr. Jarvis said that with the collection system rehabilitation, there was the possibility of patching up 700 units of manholes, costing $297,500.

“Essentially that’s putting a Band-Aid on the inside that will last 10 years or so. A lot of the manholes aren’t in that bad of shape, so I don’t really think it’s necessary. But once again, if you have the money, it’s nice to do,” he said.

Contract one consists of building the actual plant and contract two involves installing the equipment required along with a majority of the piping inside the plant as well as the heating system.

Contract three (plumbing) has to do with the interior plumbing for sinks, toilets and other minor things. Contract four is all of the electrical work and contract five relates to re-lining the collection system, or sewer mains.

Mr. Jarvis added that while the overall budget was nearly $6 million, that does not take into account the already built-in contingency.

“The overall project budget had a $400,000 contingency built into it. So when I say we were over budget by $1.3 million that doesn’t include my $400,000 contingency,” he said.

“We don’t like to go into a job with no contingency, but we can go in with around $190,000 or $200,000 instead of $400,000. So I am taking it out of the contingency and putting it into the construction budget,” Mr. Jarvis said.

The town engineer expressed optimism in the possibility of getting the final payment under budget when all is said and done.

“I think between, if we have to take a little bit more out of the collection system, our contingency, plus some more stuff I’m still working on - I think we can get it under budget and not have to borrow any more money,” Mr. Jarvis said. “If we get to the end of the job and we still have money left, we can add some of this back in. But I hate to put it in now and then go with no back up plans.”

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