In a one-item special meeting last Tuesday the Mineola City Council approved the low bid for utility work for the Sanderson Farms feed mill being built on Loop 564 in southeast Mineola.
Mayor Pro-Tem Novada Bigham conducted the meeting in the absence of Mayor Kevin White. The meeting was slightly delayed until Ward 3 Alderman Mitchell Tuck arrived, coming from work. The meeting commenced with Jack Newman, Ward 2, and Sue Jones, Ward 1, also present. Both Polly Jones, Ward 1, and Jayne Lankford, Ward 2, had to work late.
The meeting was called to discuss and consider action on bids for the water, sewer and natural gas improvements under a Texas Community Development Block Grant for the Sanderson Farms property.
City Administrator Mercy Rushing introduced Chris Aylor of KSA, the city’s engineering firm, which is assisting with the project.
Aylor said that he appreciated those attending the meeting on such a cold evening. “But this is an important thing for the city of Mineola,” he said. Eleven bids were received two weeks ago, which he described as “an outstanding number of bids. We were expecting about half of that.” That number of bids, he said, showed there was a lot of interest in the project.
Aylor said the low bidder was Duplichain Contractors, LLC, out of Alto. “We have worked with Duplichain on many projects in the past and have confidence in their ability to perform the work. We see no issue, should the council choose to award the bid tonight,” he said.
He noted there were two different options that were bid by the companies. Each bid included the cost of an eight-inch water line and accompanying work, plus an alternate option for a 12-inch water line with the same work. “Why did we do this? Well the city’s desire was always to put 12-inch water line around the loop. But eight-inch is all that is justified for Sanderson,” Aylor said.
Duplichain’s bid for the eight-inch water line was $508,571. For the 12-inch line the bid was $605,975. He noted that the grant funding will provide money for the eight-inch water line. “Should the city elect to move to the 12-inch waterline, that will be on the city’s tab.”
Rushing expanded on that, saying, “We always want to look at the alternate bid. You never know. It was always our plan to put the 12-inch all the way around the loop. That is our growth pattern.”
She said the city tried to apply for the grant for a 12-inch line, “But they (the state) felt like eight-inch would more than accommodate the company for the grant.” She said the state told the city if the larger line is installed, the city would be responsible for what exceeded the amount for which the grant would pay. She said the state also advised that it would be cheaper to do now, than later. The city administrator explained that when the city asked for the bond, about $100,000 was included, “just in case it (the cost for the 12-inch line) came in that area. If it had come in more than that, the discussion was that we could live with the eight-inch if we have to .”
However, for growth patterns, the city administrator recommended the 12-line. She clarified that $508,571, which was the bid for the eight-inch line, will be paid with the state grant. She said an additional $94,404 is the amount the city will have to come up with. “And that money is identified in the bond money.”
“It’s up to the council,” Rushing said. “But we feel like we need to do this. We passed on this in the past and I think we regret it.” She noted that Public Works Director William Crump was present when the city visited with the engineers, with the city’s contractors, and she said that Mayor Rod Watkins (at the very beginning) and Mayor Kevin White were in on the decision and “they all agreed we need to look into the 12-inch. That’s why we bid it with that in it.”
Newman made the motion for the recommendation, accepting the low bid for the 12-inch line with Sue Jones making the second. The motion carried unanimously with four votes in favor. Afterward, Bigham adjourned the Jan. 2 meeting. Rushing later said, the larger line “is not for Sanderson. This is for the growth of the city, both residential and commercial.” She also said there was intent to install the larger line when a previous project was built, but the money was taken out of the project.