MOUNT VERNON — The city received a set of surprisingly low bids when bids for the Yellow Jacket Drive waterline project were opened Thursday.
The engineer’s estimate for the project was $233,693, but even the highest of the seven bids was more than $50,000 under the estimate.
The apparent low bidder was Law General Contracting of St. Louisville, which bid $128,974. 21.
The Engineering Department is going over the bids to make sure everything is accurate.
Mayor Richard Mavis said he has scheduled a meeting between the city and the seven trash haulers with permits to operate in Mount Vernon. The object is to save residents money and to reduce the number of heavy trucks on the city’s residential streets.
The meeting is scheduled for 3 p.m. April 24 in City Hall Council Chambers.
Superintendent Dave Carpenter reported he has been working with Colby Clippinger from Knox County Career Center Building Trades on plans to concrete the existing parking area just north of the new inclusive playground at Memorial Park. Half of the current gravel lot will become concrete this spring and the other half will be poured in the fall.
Also this fall, Carpenter said they are planning to excavate and install a new gravel lot on the north side of the access road to provide about 30 more parking spaces.
Funding for the project is all private donations secured by the Knox County Board of Developmental Disabilities.
Also related to the playground area, Kay Burley, chair of the Shade Tree Commission, reported that nine large trees have been installed in the playground area. A tenth, donated by Wade and Gatten Landscaping, will be installed after the grading is completed.
The pool pump/maintenance room addition is still in progress at Hiawatha Park. Some of the masonry work is completed, but the contractor is having trouble finding a supplier of the remaining blocks that need to match the existing block work as closely as possible. Completion of the project is still expected in early May.
All park restrooms are now open except for the restrooms at the Schnormeier Event Center, which are undergoing some repairs.
Terry Postle and Carpenter met with representatives of the Otis Elevator Co. They are hoping to upgrade the elevator in the Plaza Building. The upgrades would give the city more options when monitoring and operating, thus improving security of the building.
The mechanical room for the elevator also needs to stop water from infiltrating the room and getting near operating equipment. Buttons will be installed on the Court and Probation floor to allow security to stop the elevator any time potential safety issues are seen on the monitoring cameras.
Superintendent Tom Hinkle reported that the department rebuilt two catch basins at the intersection of Sychar and Pleasant streets early this week, and began another at Mechanic and Sugar. They were old brick catch basis and the combination of salt and vibrations caused bricks to fall out and the sinkholes formed.
Earlier this year, when a tree fell on Park Road, a section of the sidewalk was forced up. The walk section was reset, but the department went back this week and poured a new section of walk.
They also spent time this week making sure handicapped symbols were painted on all handicapped parking spaces, including the new ones on South Mulberry and West Gambier. Signs warning of the fines for violations were also placed, except at the two spots near the library and one on Mechanic because more signs had to be ordered.
Another 12 tons of hot patch was used to fix potholes. Hinkle said they are now working systematically across the city.
Monday, permanent repairs were made to the controller unit at Gambier and Liberty that was damaged by a truck last week. The $1,600 repair bill was sent to the driver’s insurance company.
Two seasonal employees started working for the department this week, and went to work picking up trash in areas where mowing will begin soon. Industrial Drive is especially bad, Hinkle said.
Grading in some alleys also resumed this week.
The street sweeper is also still out of action and will remain so for another week or two. The gear box in the sweeper has to be replaced, which will cost about $11,000.
Hinkle said he has ordered another 125 tons of salt, which means they will have to get one more order after this to fill the city’s commitment to purchase at least 1,090 tons of salt.
“It looks like we will be going into next winter with about 1,000 tons of salt in the barn,” he said.
Mayor Mavis said the city should receive an increase of about $340,000 a year from the increase in the state gas tax.
Utilities Director Mathias Orndorf said his crew was working with the Street Department this week, repairing utility digs.
Trucks were hauling liquid sludge from the sewage treatment plant this week. Each truck can haul about 7,000 gallons. They are trying to empty one of the storage tanks so they can proceed with tests on the best way to further dry the sludge.
The report last week of the amount of flow that bypassed the treatment plant in recent heavy rains was misleading, Orndorf said. The amount reported bypassing the plant was only bypassing the secondary treatment process. No untreated sewage was sent into the river.
This was shutoff week and 121 shutoff notices were sent out, which Orndorf said was about normal.
City Engineer Brian Ball said letters went out to engineering firms this week inviting them to submit letter of interest in working on the Sandusky Street corridor project.
Bids will be opened May 1 for the Newark Road/Dixie Drive water line project.
Jason Epley, assistant to the engineer, reported that the 200 feet of curb and gutter and 810 feet of sidewalk were completed at Columbus Road in front of the C.A.&C. Depot. The Beech Street sidewalk from Sychar to Andover was also completed this week.
Plum Alley paving next to First-Knox National Bank was completed and will reopen Tuesday.