Sewer line project starts $70,000 under budget
Leavenworth County commissioners awarded a bid Monday that was $70,000 less than the engineer’s estimate for the controversial Sewer District No. 3 sewer line project.
The commission, acting as the board of Leavenworth County Sewer District No. 3, awarded the construction contract to Havens Construction of Liberty, Mo. The company's bid of $513,314 was the lowest of six received for the project that will connect the Glenwood Estates subdivision south of Basehor to the city’s sewer system.
Mike Spickelmier, county public works director, said the engineer’s estimate for the project was $585,000.
The sewer line project is in response to a Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s determination to close the lagoon system currently serving the subdivision. With the board’s action, the bid will be forwarded to the KDHE for its approval.
As he has in the past, sewer district resident Larry Van Fleet questioned the design of the project. He argued if the section of gravity sewer was eliminated and force main used exclusively the project’s cost could have been $246,000 cheaper.
Commissioners countered that the gravity sewer would allow for future development to tap into the line, which would reduce the cost to sewer district homeowners.
Nonetheless, Commissioner J.C. Tellefson thanked Van Fleet for providing the number. It would be useful in discussions he intended to have, saying he hadn’t given up on securing another contributor to the project.
That would presumably be the city of Basehor. The Basehor City Council signaled it would contribute $200,000 to the project but backed out when 100 percent of sewer district residents didn’t agree to a voluntary annexation.
The Basehor-Linwood school district remains committed to contributing $200,000 to the project that will serve its new middle school.
Commissioner John Flower promised Van Fleet the final allocation against sewer district properties for the project would be fair, saying state statute allowed the sewer district’s board to defray cost to all similarly benefited properties.
“My hope is there are a lot more,” he said. “Not all will be similarly benefited but can be part of a pay-back fee.
“We had a partner bail on us. We aren’t through with that. I will do everything I can to ensure that when the sewer district’s developed money is recouped. There will never be a developer able to take over public infrastructure without paying for it.”
The KDHE granted the county a revolving loan of $1.37 million to finance the project. With the construction bid on other project costs coming in under original estimates, commissioners approved Spickelmier’s request the loan total be reduced by $200,000 if the agency agrees to allow the county to increase the total should remaining unknowns exceed current estimates.