BY ADAM WALLWORTH Northwest Arkansas Times
Posted on Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Interviews will begin today with contractors interested in building Fayetteville’s new sewer plant, which has been estimated at $58 million.
A city selection committee led by Ward 1 Alderman Robert "Swifty" Reynolds narrowed the list of potential contractors to five Tuesday, after eight submitted proposals.
The committee will begin negotiations with the following companies, listed in no particular order:
• Archer Western Contractors, based in Arlington, Texas.
• Van Horn Construction Company, based in Russellville.
• Brasfield & Gorrie LLC, based in Birmingham, Ala.
• Garney Construction, which is based in Littleton, Colo., and submitted a joint proposal with CH2 MHILL.
• Camp, Dresser, McKee (CDM) Constructors, based in Little Rock, which submitted a joint proposal with Cajun Constructors of Baton Rouge, La.
Gary Dumas, the city’s director of operations, said the list of eight contractors had to be narrowed to five to comply with the state’s newly enacted negotiated procurement law.
Cajun Constructors also submitted an individual proposal, not included in the short list.
The selection committee is expected to narrow the list to a single company by Thursday.
The selection process was undertaken because two bids opened July 21 came in well above the $48 million the city had certified. Only Archer Western and Van Horn submitted bids.
Paul Hull, president of Van Horn, said that he is hopeful his company can negotiate an acceptable contract with the city, but it is too early to determine how much difference in price can be negotiated. He said he expects the price will be affected by Hurricane Katrina, which has caused increases in oil prices.
The city is also pursuing a standard rebid on the plant, which will be used if a favorable price cannot be negotiated.
Hull said that he did not think his company, if selected to negotiate a contract, would submit another sealed bid if the city later chooses to use the standard rebid. He said his company has several other projects and is holding a spot for Fayetteville, but cannot wait much longer.
The sewer plant, estimated to cost $39.61 million in August of 2001, is part of the Wastewater System Improvement Project. Voters approved a 3/4 cent sales tax in 2001 to repay up to $125 million for the sewer project, which is now estimated at $© million.
To use the new negotiated procurement method, the city will have to restructure financing and not use any of the $100 million in Revolving Loan Funds available from the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission. The new funding structure will require extending the tax, costing tax payers an additional $5.4 million, but generating an extra $6.7 million in project funds.
The City Council Sewer Committee will discuss the selection committee’s choice Thursday as well as a cost benefit analysis of a different sewage treatment process that could be used. The alternate treatment process could save time and money.