KIMBALL, Tenn. - The cost to construct a sewer line to Marion County's technical school project on the old Holland Farm along U.S. Highway 41 will be much lower than expected.
Mayor David Jackson said Kimball has committed $750,000 to the center project, and officials expected the sewer line installation would take most of that money.
After opening bids for the sewer contract, officials got a nice surprise.
Anthony Pelham, an engineer with James C. Hailey & Co. in Nashville, said the bids were “very competitive,” but the $311,543 bid from Lofty Construction in Kimball was “quite a bit lower” than the next lowest bid.
The Kimball Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted unanimously recently to accept the low bid.
Other bids ranged up to almost $540,000 with a projected construction cost of $387,900, Pelham said.
“My initial concern when we looked at the bids was how much [Lofty Construction] was low,” he said. “They were nearly 10 percent lower [than the next low bidder].”
Lofty Construction was allowed to back out of the bid within 24 hours of the opening so the board could reject it as a professional courtesy, Pelham said.
“I’m not in the business of trying to burn somebody, so I spoke to them and asked them if they’d made an honest mistake,” he said. “[Lofty] was satisfied with his bid, and so my assessment is that the town just got a heck of a bid from a reputable local contractor.”
Pelham said Lofty Construction representatives “wanted to stay home” and work on this project.
“Especially with fuel costs and travel costs, that’s a trend these days,” he said.
After the sewer is complete, the money remaining from Kimball’s original $750,000 commitment will be used in the construction of the technical center’s buildings or other infrastructure projects on the campus, officials said.
<em>Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.</em>