Chesterton Tribune

49 Corridor bids lower than expected

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By KEVIN NEVERS

The bids are in for the Ind. 49 Utility Corridor project, and they’re considerably lower—by about 40 percent—than the $3.6 million price-tag estimated by the Chesterton Redevelopment Commission’s contracted project engineer.

Meanwhile, Town Council Member Jeff Trout, R-2nd—who also sits on the commission—is warning the Porter County Council that the window for partnering in the project—again, at a cost much lower than originally estimated $900,000—is fixing to close.

At their meeting Monday night, Redevelopment Commission members voted 3-0 to take the following five base bids under advisement:

•$2,128,059, from LGS Plumbing Inc. of Crown Point.

•$2,135,829 from Grimmer Construction Inc. of Highland.

•$2,166,577 from Woodruff & Sons of Michigan City.

•$2,262,625.05 from Gough Inc. of Merrillville.

•$3,106,000 from Haas Construction Company Inc. of Calumet City, Ill.

The base bids cover the cost of installing sanitary sewer, stormwater, water, and fiber optic infrastructure solely to serve property developed within the town, south of the Indiana Toll Road, chiefly along the west side of Ind. 49, and to Chesterton’s southernmost corporate limit.

But each contractor also submitted an alternate bid, to cover the costs of upsizing the sanitary sewer line to enable it to serve property developed outside the town in unincorporated Liberty Township. It will not be possible to provide sanitary sewer service to unincorporated property unless those lines are upsized and earlier this year the Porter County Commissioners voted 2-1 to endorse an expenditure of $900,000—the estimated cost at the time—to do just that. The Porter County Council holds the purse strings, however, and to date has yet to make a decision.

The alternate bids:

•$742,409 from LGS Plumbing.

•$802,887.70 from Grimmer Construction Inc.

•$822,311 from Woodruff & Sons.

•$885,066.41 from Gough Inc.

•$912,000 from Haas Construction Company Inc.

Trout took a moment at the end of the Town Council’s meeting, later in the evening, to note that the winning bid will be awarded soon, with or without Porter County’s participation in the project. “I hope the Porter County Council understands that without utility planning, the jobs won’t come,” he said. “We’ve done our part. If the county doesn’t want in, the Town of Chesterton will move forward and do it on its own.”

Trout did warn the Porter County Council, though, that if the pipes go in now at a size adequate only to serve the town, it’s going to cost through the nose to upsize them later. “If they decide to do it later, it will cost millions, not $750,000,” he said.

Additional Appropriation

Later in the evening, members voted unanimously to adopt a resolution authorizing the additional appropriation of up to $3 million in tax increment revenue bonds to finance the project.

At a public hearing which preceded the vote, no one spoke in favor of the resolution and no one in opposition to it.

As Town Attorney Chuck Lukmann noted, however, the very “competitive” and “favorable” bids will almost certainly mean that it won’t be necessary to issue the full $3 million in bonds. “It seems like we’ll be doing the bond issue for less than $3 million,” he said.

Intra-municipal Agreement

In other business, members also voted unanimously to approve an agreement with the Utility Service Board under which the Service Board will establish a schedule of special connection fees for all new users of the sanitary sewer line to be built along the Ind. 49 Utility Corridor south of the Toll Road.

Revenues from those fees will be made over to the Redevelopment Commission in repayment for the cost of engineering and constructing the line. The Utility is not assuming any of the cost of installing the other infrastructure and no current ratepayers will be on the hook for the special connection fees.

The Service Board, for its part, approved the same agreement at its meeting last week.

 

Posted 6/26/2012