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Pilot Point hits snag on water system work

Profile image for By John D. Harden / Staff Writer
By John D. Harden / Staff Writer

The city of Pilot Point is still seeking bids for about $900,000 in water system improvements that are needed to incorporate a new water supply well.

City officials said they hope to have the water well operational by midsummer, but during a City Council meeting this week, they told council members they did not receive any bids for the water system improvements after opening bids earlier this year.

In March, the city awarded a contract to Pilot Point-based Strittmatter Irrigation & Supply for the completion of the new water well at a base bid of $688,534, and city staff is in the process of finalizing the contract to get that project started.

But before the city can reap the benefits of the new well, officials must expand some of its water system connections.

City Manager Tom Adams said city staff members have contacted various sources that can help move the project forward, and they anticipate that the council should have some options during their next meeting later this month or during the first meeting in May.

“The improvements are necessary to strengthen the city’s water system and allow for future growth,” Adams said.

Some of the needed improvements include constructing water lines, a pump station, a 200,000-gallon groundwater storage unit, an access road and a chlorination room.

No formal action has been taken, but under a recommendation by Adams, the council agreed to continue seeking bids.

If the city fails to obtain bids within the next couple of weeks, Adams said he will recommend that the city work with TIPS/TAPS Cooperative Purchasing System to complete the project. TIPS/TAPS is a third-party company that helps schools and other governmental entities find vendors or contractors.

According to city officials, plans to expand the city’s water services have been in the works for years.

This year, however, council members have taken steps to turn their goals into a reality.

The city has plans to spend nearly $1 million to make water and wastewater plant improvements, and Adams said some of the improvements to the water system are needed to help satisfy state requirements regarding water supply levels.

“We have an adequate water supply to meet demands, but this will help us plan for growth,” he said.

The city plans to use a combination of city funds and certificates of obligation to pay for the projects.

The council also unanimously voted to raise water and wastewater rates last month to help repay the bonds.

“Most of the debt will be paid back in six years,” Adams said.

City officials approved a 7.2 percent increase to the city water rates and a 2.1 percent increase to the sewer rates to pay for street and sidewalk improvements, historical preservation projects and park improvements in addition to the water-related projects.

Mayor Greg Hollar said he’s hoping the city can move forward with the project soon.

“It’s been on the books for a while, and it’s about time that we get this going,” he said.

JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882 and via Twitter at @JDHarden.