- Paris Flash
- Real Estate
By CHARLES RICHARDS
Three engineering firms made their pitches Monday evening to the Paris City Council for a contract to come up with a 10-year plan to replace and improve Paris’ aging underground network of water and sewer lines.
After hearing from Fort Worth-based Freese and Nichols, Paris-based Hayter Engineering, and Longview-based KSA, Inc., the council decided to mull over the proposals for a while before deciding who will get the contract.
Council members praised the companies for excellent presentations.
“I had a thoroughly great time. It’s one of the best meetings we have had, because really, the goal we all set from the day we came onto the council was replacement and improvement of the infrastructure of the city,” Mayor AJ Hashmi said after the meeting.
“I’m very happy, very pleased. And I think the council was pleased, and I think even the presenters were pleased,” the mayor added.
All three engineering firms said it would take about a year to come up with a 10-year plan. But all three also said that in light of the council’s desire to get started right away they could have the first year’s plan of work rather quickly.
All three said the Paris project is the kind of work they excel at. Reeves Hayter, owner of Hayter Engineering, stressed that no other company can match the familiarity his firm has with the city’s infrastructure already.
Hashmi said he stressed in advance to all three companies “that we want to proceed with infrastructure replacement and we have set aside funds to proceed right away with the first year of work.”
City manager John Godwin earmarked an extra $1.2 million for the infrastructure out of the budget for the 2012-2013 fiscal year that began Oct. 1. The council wants to dip into reserves for another $4 million or so over the next 12 months.
A bond issue will be needed to fund infrastructure replacement for future years.
“It is with great difficulty that we are finally starting a big project of infrastructure,” the mayor said. “It’s on everybody’s mind. Everyone wants it. And so, we are not wanting to have it that Year One happens and then it’s a dead issue again.”
All three engineering firms called the Paris contract an important job they would like to have, and each said it was ready to commit teams of workers who could be ready to start right away.
No dollar amounts were mentioned Monday night for how much it would cost to replace the city’s antiquated cast-iron water lines and equally old sewer lines. There also was no estimate on what the companies would charge for coming up with the 10-year plan.
“By state law, we cannot select an engineering firm based upon the cost,” Hashmi said, explaining why the companies are not submitting bids.
“You have to determine who is best. So the decision is not going to be based on who bid what, but who is best to perform. Then the pricing goes after that. We will find out what each of the bids would be, but we have to base the selection on performance. Of course the cost will be variable – we can add things to or subtract things from the contract,” the mayor said.
“We do want to be cost-conscious and aware of the fact that it’s taxpayer money and should not be wasted,” he said.
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