Council rejects low pool bid

Christy Howell-Hoots
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AUGUSTA — After receiving two bids for the renovation of the city pool, officials rejected the lowest bid on Monday, becasue it did not conform to bid specifications.

According to Augusta Mayor Wendell High, the two bids received for the renovation were Natare, out of Indiapolis, in the amount of $187,691 and PSS Contractors, out of Cincinnati, in the amount of $325,000.

High told council members that during a meeting of the Augusta pool committee, it was discovered Natare’s bid did not meet the minimum requirements.

There are several renovations that need to be completed for the pool to begin operating again. It was shut down early last summer because of the many problems. High said he did not believe the pool would be reopened this year because there is so much work that needs to be completed.

According to the scope of work provided to bidders, some of those renovations include removing the concrete floor, deck and wading pool in order to install new main drains, gutters, pool plumbing and wading pool plumbing, provide PVC I-Bar grating, replace concrete deck, add a 60 mil membrane using industry standard installation system, replace pool ladders with commercial pool ladders, keep the diving board, add handrail to the wading pool, provide signage and safety equipment and other work.

High said some of the work may be completed by the city, instead of the contractor once the bid has been awarded.

“We’ll work with the contractors to see what work can be completed by the city,” High said. “Well make it clear that there are some things we can do ourselves.”

In the cover letter attached to Natare’s bid, company reps said, “We aren’t concrete guys, so we would have to hire someone pour the deck and then put a markup on it.”

The letter also encourages the city to use its own plumbers, electricians and general laborors to assist with the work.

“The reason the bid was so low is due to all of the things omitted,” High said. “There are just a lot of questions about the bid.”

High recommended the council hold off on accepting the higher bid until he has a chance to meet with the company and look into securing more funding.

“Do you have the funding yet?” Council Member Tay Kelsch asked.

High said the city has the $150,000 advance promised by the fiscal court, but he is still working to secure other funding.

During a Bracken County Fiscal Court meeting earlier in March, magistrates approved an advance of $150,000 to the city in order to make repairs to the pool. The money was already given to the city each year in the amount of $7,500. Now, the city will receive 20 years of funding in a lump sum.

There is also a fundraiser underway on redbasket.org at https://redbasket.org/1628/repairing-the-augusta-pool.

“I have three other sources where I could get the funding if we needed,” High said. “We could borrow the money if we need to do it.”

Kelsch said he was concerned about repaying any loan money borrowed.

“We already won’t have the $7,500 each year given to us by the fiscal court,” Kelsch said. “On top of that, you could be looking at $25,000 a year to repay the loan. The budget is already tight.”

High agreed the city’s budget is tight, but said council will be working on the budget on Thursday and could look into what options it may have for funding.

High also said there is always the option of rejecting both bids and putting the pool out to bid for a second time.

“I think we need to talk about this and talk to the company before we make a decision,” High said. “I’d like to have a decision made sometime next week.”

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Christy Howell-Hoots