Sole bid for Meeker water project $310,000 over budget; divided trustees voice concerns

MEEKER | The board of trustees reviewed the second bid received for the second phase of the town’s water project at the Tuesday meeting. The previous bid was incomplete, and the board asked to go out to bid again. The bid came in more than $310,000 over the $1 million estimate, prompting significant concern and debate.
Consultant Mike Milius presented four options for the board to consider. One option

would change some of the specifications and thereby reduce the cost of the project by about $225,000. The board agreed to approve the bid contingent on the contract coming back for approval under $1,148,000. If construction isn’t started by October the project will have to go back to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment for approval.
Trustees and staff debated various options, including a third attempt to go out to bid, accepting the current bid as is, or eliminating parts of the project. Also up for discussion was the need to address the town’s excessive water consumption, and the possibility of raising water rates.
Public Works Supervisor Russell Overton expressed concerns that the project go forward in its entirety.
“I’m not saying we shouldn’t raise rates, but I am saying we need to do this project,” Overton said.
Trustee Travis Day said, “The City of Rifle is using 4.5 million treated gallons per day. We’re using about 800 gallons per day per person. We need to back our usage down and push conservation. The average is 100 gallons per person per day nationally.”
Milius said raising rates generally only affects water usage for a few years, and then usage rises to previous levels.
The board agreed to award the bid with a contingency. They will need to vote again to approve a contract with the bidder before the project moves forward.
The board revisited an ordinance to designate Meeker as a “Tree City” as part of a joint collaboration with the rec district.
“More than 100 Colorado communities have participated in this program,” said ERBM Executive Director Sean Von Roenn.
Meeker resident Bob Amick expressed concerns about notifications to the public before the town trims trees.
“This is the only town I know of that permits trimming of trees that overhang into the right-of-way without notification of the owner. Owners should be informed, not just by a notice in the paper annually. I have strong feelings about that,” Amick said.
The board agreed to approve the ordinance, and Mayor Regas Halandras assured Amick that his concerns have been heard and will be taken into consideration.
Trustees reviewed the scope of work for the Better City contract, but tabled it for further discussion.
“The biggest issue brought to my attention is it’s a monthly fee of $2,500, but that doesn’t specify how many hours of work we get,” said Town Attorney Melody Massih.
The trustees agreed that they want to see some kind of performance-based contract with goals to be met by Better City, with written progress reports.
During public participation, Dr. Bob Dorsett spoke to the trustees about his issues with the Better City program and what they have focused on.
Massih presented the board with a set of forms for the abatement process for “dangerous buildings.” The board sent letters to eight property owners in May notifying them that their properties are in need of abatement. Thus far two of the property owners have responded.
The next step, according to Massih, is to formally establish the three-person board of appeals.
– Agreed to send a letter to CDOT requesting a reduction of speed on Hwy. 13 out past the hospital and Curtis Creek turnoffs at the request of Police Chief Stubblefield. There has been one major crash at the hospital intersection, but “for safety reasons that whole stretch needs to be at 50mph,” Stubblefield said.
– Approved a special event liquor permit for MACC during R100 for Saturday, Aug. 11 downtown at the courthouse plaza from 6-9 p.m. Proceeds will go to the Meeker Sportsman’s Club and to MACC.