Silverhill rejects bids for water system improvements


SILVERHILL, Alabama — There will be a delay in the Town of Silverhill’s nearly half-million dollar water expansion project after the Silverhill Town Council voted to reject bids for the project at its meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 3.

The project, which is slated to begin in 2019, was estimated at $460,000, said Silverhill Mayor Jared Lyles. But six bids were opened on the project Aug. 23 with the lowest bid coming in at $524,000, more than $60,000 over budget. The highest bid received was nearly $700,000.

A representative from Civil Southeast addressed the council at the Sept. 3 meeting, saying that a significant portion of the cost of the project comes from the fact that the cost of providing meters for every potential customer of the project was added to the overall cost.

“Right now, we don’t know how many customers will be added and without that, it is hard to come up with an accurate estimate,” he said.

The council agreed to send letters to all potential customers offering them a reduction in tapping fees to sign on to the project.

“We currently have an impact fee of $800 that cannot be changed,” Lyles said. “Normally our tap fees are $1,000, bringing the total cost to $1,800. In order to cut that fee in half, we will have to reduce the tap fee from $1,000 to $100.”

After much discussion, council members voted unanimously to reduce the tap fee for the project, decreasing the connection fee to $900.

Attorney Josh Myrick with Stankoski Myrick LLC, who represents the town in all legal matters, said the town could pass a temporary ordinance so they would not have to make a permanent change to the connection fee.

Residents would have 30 days following the receipt of the letter to agree to connect at that price. If a resident decided not to tap into the project, they would not be included in the bid cost.

“Once we skip over a property, we will not be able to go back and add it,” said the Civil Southeast rep.

In April of 2018, the council voted to enter into an agreement with Civil Southeast regarding the running of 8-inch water lines and replacing 2-inch water lines with 8-inch waterlines along East Boulevard.

In September of last year, the council learned that a federal grant would pay half of the cost of the project.

The project would then require a loan from the town with the first payment not due until January 2020. At earlier meetings, officials discussed increasing water rates over a 2-year period in order to pay for the loan.

According to the bid specifications published in Gulf Coast Media, the project calls for 12,250 linear feet of 8-inch Class 200 PVC mater main and related equipment.

According to the representative, the project will take about 90 working days to complete, or upwards of six months.

In other business Sept. 3, the council agreed to allow Superintendent of Utilities Scottie Smith to hire out for the removal of two stumps, located in the town’s right-of-way along Second Street near Silverhill School at a cost of $695.