KIMBALL, Tenn. — The cost to construct a sewer line to Marion County’s technical school project on the old Holland Farm along U.S. Highway 41 will be much lower than expected.
Mayor David Jackson said Kimball has committed $750,000 to the center project, and officials expected the sewer line installation would take most of that money.
After opening bids for the sewer contract, officials got a nice surprise.
Anthony Pelham, an engineer with James C. Hailey & Co. in Nashville, said the bids were “very competitive,” but the $311,543 bid from Lofty Construction in Kimball was “quite a bit lower” than the next lowest bid.
The Kimball Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted unanimously recently to accept the low bid.
Other bids ranged up to almost $540,000 with a projected construction cost of $387,900, Pelham said.
“My initial concern when we looked at the bids was how much [Lofty Construction] was low,” he said. “They were nearly 10 percent lower [than the next low bidder].”
Lofty Construction was allowed to back out of the bid within 24 hours of the opening so the board could reject it as a professional courtesy, Pelham said.
“I’m not in the business of trying to burn somebody, so I spoke to them and asked them if they’d made an honest mistake,” he said. “[Lofty] was satisfied with his bid, and so my assessment is that the town just got a heck of a bid from a reputable local contractor.”
Pelham said Lofty Construction representatives “wanted to stay home” and work on this project.
“Especially with fuel costs and travel costs, that’s a trend these days,” he said.
After the sewer is complete, the money remaining from Kimball’s original $750,000 commitment will be used in the construction of the technical center’s buildings or other infrastructure projects on the campus, officials said.
Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.