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By CHARLES RICHARDS
The Paris City Council Tuesday night authorized city manager John Godwin to enter into a contract with Longview-based KSA Engineers for $238,200 to develop a 10-year, $50 million plan to modernize the city’s infrastructure.
KSA has agreed to produce a plan for the first year’s work by Dec. 31, because the council wants to spend $5 million for work the first year and plans to begin that work in January.
Across the board, the council was impressed with what it has seen of the company’s work in other cities.
“This is a giant step for the City of Paris – comparable to the lunar landing, I guess. More than anything we’ve ever done before,” District 3 councilman John Wright said.
“Absolutely,” mayor AJ Hashmi concurred.
Joncie H. Young of Longview, president of the company, made a special trip to Paris for Tuesday night’s meeting.“Let me say thank you,” Young told the council. “We worked very hard to try to secure this work. We will do you a good job. You won’t be disappointed. We understand how important this is to you. We work in communities like this all over Texas.”
KSA has pledged to commit 20 of the company’s 160 employees in nine Texas offices to the Paris project. They will be headed by four team leaders, each responsible for a separate component, whether streets and drainage, water, wastewater or community involvement.
His company will start the project next week, Young said, and the company’s goal is to finish the 10-year work plan for the city within six months.
“We are going to have a kickoff meeting with the city staff to gather information,” Young said.
“The team leaders will come here and evaluate the situation. Some of the work will be done in our offices outside of Paris, but a lot of work will be done here inside the city as the team leaders investigate and they look and identify and they evaluate the infrastructure that you currently have,” he said.
Hashmi, who represents District 7, told Young, “I’m happy you got the contract. It is a big project for our city – work that has not been done in some time – and I think the expectations are very high, needless to say.”
Godwin praised KSA, saying company officials “did an excellent job negotiating with us, and dealing with us.”
“I met with representatives of KSA last weekend in Grapevine (at a Texas Municipal League meeting), on Thursday and Friday, and I talked again over the weekend and again today,” the city manager said.
“We did some changing of the scope of the project to try to get the price down. KSA did an excellent job negotiating with us, and the contract price has gone from $298,000 to $238,200,” Godwin said.
Under the city, inside the loop, lies an estimated 689,000 feet of old cast iron pipe ranging from 40 to 113 years old, according to an engineering report prepared several years ago by Hayter Engineering of Paris.
There are 500 system leaks per year, with a loss of 350 million gallons of water a year. Several of the city’s lift stations are more than 50 years old; much of the city’s wastewater is pumped three times.
The combination of the lost water and the time and expense by city workers trying to patch the leaks costs the city about $500,000 a year, the city manager says.
Young said the most important part of KSA’s work “is to give you a road map of where you can go. Now, you can choose to follow that map or you can choose to adjust it, but you’ll have a map with which to determine the city’s infrastructure future.”
Hashmi said he liked KSA’s format, which will propose specific construction projects, and the cost, for each year. It would allow the city to swap out one year’s work for another at any given time as dictated by the city’s finances.
KSA, Hayter Engineering, and Fort Worth-based Freese and Nichols made their presentations to the council on Oct. 15, after which the council decided to study the matter for a few weeks.
District 6 councilwoman Cleonne Drake told Young: “I was very impressed after I went home and studied it more, and we’re really looking forward to working with your company.”
Wright told Young: “The report that I got about your company – A Number One. And I did do some calling. I got a very good response. I know you’ll do well for us. Let’s just keep each other informed, and join hands, and do a good job.”
District 2 councilwoman Sue Lancaster said: “We’re very pleased with what we’ve seen so far, and we’re really looking forward to getting a comprehensive plan that we’ve needed for a very long time and that we’re very excited about.”
District 1 councilman Aaron Jenkins said: “I feel pretty much the same. I’m glad you got the contract, and I’m interested in seeing the results.”
Godwin said KSA agreed to incorporate into its planning at no extra charge a parks plan for which the City of Paris has a grant.
The vote directing the city manager to sign KSA to a professional services contract at a price not to exceed $238,200 came by a 5-0 vote. Two councilman – Dr. Richard Grossnickle of District 4 and Matt Frierson of District 5 – were absent.
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