FORT WAYNE – Higher-than-expected prices could delay needed sewer connections for homes with failing septic systems.
The Fort Wayne Board of Works on Wednesday opened bids for a septic elimination project in the Parkerdale neighborhood, but the only contractor interested in the work submitted a price far above what the city expected to pay.
Ironclad Excavating submitted a contract to do the work for $756,809 more than 50 percent above the citys estimate of $467,725.
Matthew Wirtz, with City Utilities, said part of the reason for the higher estimate is that contractors are busy with numerous jobs, reducing interest in this work, which he admitted will be dirty.
One bidder is never a good sign, he said.
The project is the second phase of eliminating potentially failing systems in the area that generally lies along St. Joe Road north of Rothman Road. It was to install more than a mile of sanitary sewer pipe and provide sewer service to 38 homes. The first phase was completed in 2004 and provided service to 120 homes.
The citys septic-relief policy calls for the city to pay a set amount of a project and leave homeowners to pay for the rest. That means if a project comes in much higher than expected, such as this Parkerdale contract, residents could end up paying much more for the service than expected.
Mary Jane Slaton, utility spokeswoman, said because there was only one bid for the work that was much higher than its estimate, the city will review the project and consider its options. She said the utility will evaluate the projects components, talk with affected residents and seek ways to reduce costs while providing reliable service.
The city has not determined how much it will dedicate to this project, but its guiding policy states that $3,200 a property will be provided. Under this scenario, the city would cover $121,600 of the total Parkerdale project cost. That means the citys estimate expected residents to pay about $9,100, but the proposed price would cost homeowners $16,700.