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City holds off on awarding sewer bid

| April 24, 2024 2:00 AM

The City of Columbia Falls nixed a special meeting slated for Monday (April 22) to award a bid on its sewer treatment plant project.

 The city received one bid and the base bid was $1.3 million higher than the available funding, city manager Susan Nicosia  noted.

“City staff is currently meeting with the engineers and the bidder to determine what we can fund and meet the city’s needs. The base bid on the bioreactor expansion was $4.7 million – we have $3.8 million,” she said in an email.

The city has now been consulting with the state Department of Natural Resources and Conservation as well as engineers working on the project to see what can be done with the available funding.

The city initially planned on funding the project through a blend of existing reserves and federal American Rescue Plan Act grants without having to borrow money from the state’s revolving loan fund and in turn, possibly raise sewer rates to customers.

But the project has been dogged by engineering delays and by inflation. Engineers earlier this year estimated the project would cost $8 million. While the bid didn’t come in that high, it’s still higher than what the city has in available grant funding.