Warsaw is preparing to request an extension on the $1 million Department of Housing and Community Development grant the town has been using to revamp Main St. because all of the work is not complete, and therefore, all the funds haven’t been used.
Under the terms of the grant, when the town commissions work, it’s responsible for paying the bill upfront and then request reimbursements. There is a two-year term on that arrangement, which is set to end on January 31.
One of the main projects that will overrun the timeline is the planned installation of stormwater lines and drop inlets, town manager Joseph Quesenberry told the town council last week.
The project has been held up by the bidding process. Initially, the town set a $600,000 budget, but only received a proposal from one contractor offering to do the job for $1.2 million, an amount that wasn’t acceptable.
The administration went back to the drawing board with engineers to redesign the plan, which now includes placing drop inlets near Relish, Michelle’s Bakery and The Brewery complex to collect the rainwater that accumulates on Main St. That runoff will be piped down St. Johns St. to an existing pipe that runs under Route 360 and will be directed to the Bounds.
The administration put the modified plan back out for bid. One contractor proposed taking on the project for $1.6 million but another has offered to do it for $482,370.
Quesenberry explained that $300,000 of that will be covered by the grant, leaving the town to fund $182,370 plus any amounts resulting from change orders. “That’s something we can handle,” he said.
Given that the bid is so much lower than the others, council member Ralph Self questioned whether the town could be sure that the company was reputable.
Quesenberry revealed that the low bidder is Earth Crafters of Fredericksburg, which is a company that is already working for the town at The Bounds. Over the course of that project, the Department of Environmental Quality hasn’t had any issues with the company’s work and all of their inspections have been clear. “The quality is always good,” said Quesenberry.
He assured the council that he and staff had gone over every line in the proposal and crossed referenced it with the higher bids. Everything is the same, just at lower costs. But to be sure, he has taken the additional precautionary step of sending the proposal to engineers to ensure that price really is the only difference.
The town council voted unanimously to proceed with Earth Crafters as the stormwater contractor if the engineers find that all is in order.
Quesenberry said DHCD is aware of the situation and have requested a formal grant extension request in writing.