Stettler town council picked the contractor during their regular council meeting April 21 who will complete the 52nd Street water main replacement this summer.
Councillors had to admit there was a huge amount of interest in the work.
Councillors voted unanimously in favour of awarding the work to Wally’s Backhoe Service, a Stettler-area business, which submitted a quote of $200,219.25 for the job.
“We had a lot of interest,” said CAO Greg Switenky.
There were 12 responses to the town’s tender for 52nd Street. Quoters included Wally’s Backhoe Services ($200,219.25), Nikiforuk ($216,088.95), Alex Excavating ($259,996.17 (corrected), UG Excavating ($272,656.97), Urban Dirtworks ($282,379.29), Elite Site Services ($287,175.61), Northside Construction ($298,100.15), Carbon Earthworks ($358,207.50), PME Services ($438,359.25), 640 Earthworks ($448,326.90), Thompson Infrastructure ($572,920.73) and Watson’s Mechanical (disqualified as did not meet mandatory specifications).
Switenky noted quotes did not include GST or contingency.
The low bid was even below the town’s budgeted amount it was stated at the meeting. The town budgeted $280,000 for the project.
Councillors discussed the disparity between the low bid and the highest, which was almost three times as much money. Mayor Sean Nolls also noted there were new names on the list that council wasn’t familiar with.
Councillors unanimously agreed to award the contract to Wally’s Backhoe Service.
During the expense/revenue summary report, assistant CAO Steven Gerlitz noted the town will be funding its operations out of its general bank account until taxes are collected in October.
The collection will be later than normal after accommodations were made to help residents affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Councillors heard Gerlitz’ regular report on the capital budget. During discussion Mayor Nolls asked if the town had seen any defaulting on regular payments likely caused by the coronavirus situation.
Switenky responded that no, February was a typical month for the town with nothing unusual to report.
The mayor pointed out that certain accommodations made by town council, such as pushing back the property tax due date and waiving late fees for utility payments, still require bills to be paid. The accommodations were made to give residents a bit of extra time to pay.
Business closes its doors
Councillors were dismayed by bad news in the local business community. In a letter to council, Fountain Tire Alberta stores director Curtis Goodwin stated that the Stettler garage had closed.
“It is with a heavy heart that we must share that, effective April 24, 2020, the Fountain Tire store in Stettler…is closing its doors after many years of serving the community,” stated Goodwin’s letter.
Mayor Nolls noted that in the current economic situation, councillors should brace themselves for more bad news to come.
“This will be an unfortunate side effect of COVID-19,” said Nolls.
Switenky reported that coronavirus staffing shifts have begun and things appear to be going well.
Some outdoor staff have completed two weeks on while other outdoor staff were at home for two weeks, all in an effort to slow or stop the threat of COVID-19.
He said the system seems to be working well and he’s very proud of the way town staff have adjusted to life with coronavirus measures.
Switenky also noted that town of Stettler parks are not closed to the public, the play structures within the parks are closed.
While parks remain open, those using them must still observe social distancing guidelines.
The subject of the municipal campground came up.
Switenky stated the Town of Stettler awaits the provincial government’s decision on how coronavirus measures will affect campgrounds, as the facility generates revenue for the town.
It was mentioned that privately-owned campgrounds appear to be open.
The CAO stated the town will still apply for summer student funding in an effort to handle extra work the summer weather brings.
“That grass is going to start growing,” said Switenky.
Keep Stettler beautiful
During a discussion at the end of the meeting about ongoing coronavirus measures keeping people mostly at home, Coun. Cheryl Barros suggested that local residents when they’re out walking, could consider taking a trash bag with them and pick up any litter they may come across.
Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative reporter