The city of Johnstown apparently will be able to complete the second phase of its sanitary-storm separation project in Walnut Grove and Hornerstown for about $500,000 less than anticipated.
On Wednesday, council approved a pair of resolutions authorizing City Manager Kristen Denne to finalize deals with A. Liberoni Inc. and Greenland Construction Inc. to perform the sewer work. Liberoni will be paid $2.8 million to make the upgrades in Walnut Grove.
Greenland will receive $5.1 million for the larger Hornerstown project. Money for the repairs will come from the Pennsylvania Infrastructure and Investment Authority.
The cost is well below the original estimate of about $8.4 million for both contracts.
“That’s a good thing,” said the city’s engineer, Steve Sewalk from The EADS Group.
Johnstown was able to save some money by dividing the work.
“Two contracts does make it a little bit more competitive,” Sewalk said.
“You get a better bid. Rather than putting one contract out for $8 (million) or $9 million, we try to break it in half and get a very competitive number.”
Councilman William Gentile Jr. asked Sewalk if any local businesses pursued the contracts.
“You get a call here and you get a call there (with people asking) ‘How come we’re not able to bid?’ ” Gentile asked.
No Johnstown-headquartered company placed a bid, according to Sewalk. Liberoni is from Pittsburgh. Greenland operates out of Clearfield.
“From what I’ve been told, after you get about over like $200,000 to $300,000, the bonding requirements for the smaller contractors really change at that point,” Sewalk said.
The work in Hornerstown and Walnut Grove is part of a large-scale effort to modernize the city’s sewer system. The overall project will take a decade to complete. It will remain a major factor in the city’s budget process and politics throughout the process,
“It’s sewers, sewers and more sewers right now in Johnstown,” Denne said.
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