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Hartselle using bid-law provision to build I-65 sewer

By Deangelo McDaniel
dmcdaniel@decaturdaily.com 340-2469

HARTSELLE — In an effort to meet budget, Hartselle will employ a seldom-used provision in the public works bid law to extend sewer lines to the east side of Interstate 65.

Because all bids were over budget, state law allows Hartselle to reject the bids and negotiate what Mayor Dwight Tankersley called a forced contract.

"Essentially what we're going to do is allow the low bidder to work for us and bill the city for time and material," Tankersley said.

Morgan Contractors of Baker, Fla., submitted a bid of $1.635 million to construct a tunnel under I-65 that would allow Hartselle to get sewer lines to city-owned property near Alabama 36.

The bid was more than $1 million above the $558,000 the council included in its budget for the project.

The Florida-based firm is going to help Hartselle construct the tunnel, but city and Hartselle Utilities employees will do work outside the tunnel, including hauling away excess material and installing lines.

The city and HU are working out details of a contract between the two entities and will discuss it during a June 29 meeting.

"I've always felt that we would be able to do this project for what the council budgeted," Tankersley said.

Although the scope of the work is almost the same, Hartselle will have to seek permission from the Alabama Department of Transportation to bore under the interstate.

"We don't anticipate any problems with that because they have granted permission once before," Tankersley said.

City leaders have not talked about a time frame to complete the project.

But, Council President Kenny Thompson said they have no choice about doing this project because the city owns 18.8 acres east of I-65.

About a year ago, Hartselle made a commitment to pay more than $2 million for the property near I-65 and Alabama 36. The agreement with NBC Inc., a family-owned corporation, required the city to pay $550,000 down and $27,669 monthly for the next five years.

City leaders said developers have shied away from the property because it does not have sewer.

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