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Hartselle may rebid I-65, sewer project

By Deangelo McDaniel 340-2469

HARTSELLE — Mayor Dwight Tankersley is confident that Hartselle can lower the cost of getting sewer lines east of Interstate 65.

That's why the city may rebid a project that came in more than $1 million over budget, he said.

Tankersley said engineers with Municipal Consultants of Birmingham are reviewing the low bid of $1.635 million and will present a couple of options to the council.

"One option, I'm sure, will be bidding the project again," he said.

Morgan Contractors of Baker, Fla., submitted the low bid. The highest bid was $1.9 million. Hartselle budgeted $558,000 for the project.

Unlike some projects where Hartselle has deemed them too expensive after receiving bids, city leaders can't ignore this one because there is city-owned property east of I-65.

About a year ago, the city made a commitment to pay more than $2 million for 18.8 acres near I-65 and Alabama 36. The agreement with NBC Inc., a family-owned corporation, required Hartselle to pay $555,000 down and $27,669 monthly for the next five years.

So far, developers have shied away from the property because it does not have sewer.

William Sheppherd of Municipal Consultants warned Hartselle in November that the
project may cost as much as
$1 million because of the tunnel the city must bore beneath I-65.

Council President Kenny Thompson said the city must do the project because Hartselle will not be able to lure businesses to the area without sewer.

Tankersley said engineers have not finalized details, but he is confident that Hartselle can get the project close to budget.

He said there is a possibility of bidding the project in two phases and using city and Hartselle Utilities labor to lower the cost.

"If we don't come in at budget, I'm confident we're going to be very close because the engineers have some ideas," Tankersley said.

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