Utility Authority seeking urgent, emergency contractor bids

Published 7:00 am Friday, February 20, 2015

FOR DISCUSSION: At right, Interim Executive Director Ray Scott speaks to the Pearl River County Utility Authority board about securing bids for a contractor to respond to urgent and emergency repair situations. Photo by Jeremy Pittari

FOR DISCUSSION: At right, Interim Executive Director Ray Scott speaks to the Pearl River County Utility Authority board about securing bids for a contractor to respond to urgent and emergency repair situations.
Photo by Jeremy Pittari

Pearl River County’s Utility Authority is moving forward with establishing a standby contractor for repairs.
Bids are being sought for the contractor, which will tentatively be signed to a three-year contract.
Utility Authority Engineer Brooks Wallace said the contract will allow the board to have repairs conducted in a more timely manner without the need to worry about going out for bid on every project that falls within the state’s laws. According to state law, any project costing between $5,000 and $50,000 require a public entity to receive quotes, while any project in excess of $50,000 requires bids. Acquiring those quotes and bids can be time consuming.
Wallace said his proposed method will allow the board to secure bids in advance for any kind of work the Utility Authority’s systems would need, thereby establishing those prices before repairs are necessary and satisfying bid laws.
The contract would also outline timelines for responding to emergencies. Wallace said if an issue arises during normal business hours on a weekday, an urgent work order would be issued to the contractor that was awarded the bid. They would then have up to two hours to respond to the scene and begin repairs. For every hour they are late, they will be fined $100.
If a repair were required on the weekend, it would be issued as an emergency repair, and would give the contractor an hour to respond. For every hour they are late they would be fined $250.
Contractors would be paid their base rate plus a multiplier for responding to an urgent or emergency repair, Wallace said.
Board member Sonny Sones expressed concern about the length of the contract being three years. Wallace explained that by setting the contract at that length, it makes it worthwhile for a contractor to put forth the effort to submit a bid. Board Attorney Heather Ladner said cancellation clauses would be included in the contract should the contractor not meet the board’s expectations.
Contractors intending to underbid the contract would be automatically excluded from consideration. Wallace said if a contractor was to bid too far under expected costs, it would be an indication that the contractor is unaware of the full scope of the Utility Authority’s needs concerning wastewater and water system repairs.
The board approved moving forward with securing bids. Wallace said all bids should be received by March 4, and they will be opened on March 16.
In other business the board heard from a property owner on Canal Street who was previously having sewage backup problems. Billy Brown said crews came out to his area and conducted some work that has alleviated the problems he was having with sewage backing up into his home.
Operations Director Alan Howe said his crews went to the site and installed a new cleanout in the right of way as a temporary fix. Wallace said the Utility Authority also plans to install a new service line under the street as a permanent solution.
Crews are also wrapping up the wastewater line inspections in preparation for work to fix aging pipes. Wallace said so far 65,000 feet of Picayune’s sewer lines have been videoed using special equipment. They still estimate up to 70 percent of the pipes will need to be lined with a special substance that will allow them to be used for decades more. While videoing the lines, several major issues were found that required immediate repairs. So far 15 point repairs have been completed, Wallace said. Point repairs were only conducted when large caverns were found, which could have led to cave-ins.
The board also approved a motion to purchase two refurbished cameras for their own video equipment so they can video their own lines in other areas of the county. Interim Executive Director Ray Scott said the cost to purchase new cameras for the system ranged from $37,000 to $70,000. However, a refurbished version costs about $8,500, at most.
Howe pointed out that purchasing a new camera as opposed to a refurbished model was not worth the money.
“Once it goes in a hole, it is not new anymore,” Howe said.
The next meeting of the Utility Authority will be March 19, at 2 p.m. The board meets at the Neal Road treatment facility in Picayune.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox